A Sheffield woman is convinced she came face-to-face with the murderer of a city prostitute just days before she was killed.
The Pitsmoor woman – who is too frightened to be named – had a ‘strange’ confrontation with a man in Spring Street, in the city centre, a week before Michaela Hague was found stabbed to death nearby while working the streets on November 5, 2001.
On the eve of the anniversary of Michaela’s murder, the woman has spoken out in an effort to find new leads in the unsolved case. The woman, now 49, had taken a wrong turn on the way to a friend’s house and was turning her Citroen car around when a man approached the vehicle at around 9pm.
For five minutes he stood in front of the car, preventing the woman from getting away.
She said: “If I had screamed or shouted anything, who knows what would have happened.
“I think showing him that I wasn’t scared saved my life.
“The whole street was quite well lit and as I moved my car around he was just there. Every time I tried to move my car he stood in front of it.
“He wanted me to wind my window down. I eventually got away.
“It was definitely strange.
“I remember what happened quite clearly.”
The woman made it to her friend’s house and contacted South Yorkshire Police. Several years later, she contacted detectives again after seeing a mugshot in a newspaper.
She said: “I knew I would see his face again, and I had.
“They came round to interview me and I gave a description of him which fitted exactly. I’ve not heard a thing from them since then.
“When I rang them again, all they said to me was I didn’t get a good look at his face, which isn’t true.
“Every year when it comes up to the time of the anniversary I just feel that something isn’t right.”
Today, on the eve of the 14th anniversary of Michaela’s death, detectives are still hoping for a breakthrough in the case.
The 19-year-old, who was also from Pitsmoor, was stabbed to death 19 times in her neck and back after being picked up from Bower Street, off Corporation Street, in the city centre.
Fellow prostitutes told police the mother-of-one was picked up by a punter but the next time she was seen she was in a pool of blood.
A sex worker told officers she saw a car, believed to be an old style blue Ford Sierra, driving away from the scene.
A police officer alerted to the attack, in a car park off Spitalfields, spoke to Michaela in her dying moments.
PC Richard Twigg jotted down her description of the attacker on his hand. She told him the man was white, clean shaven, wore a wedding ring and where he picked her up.
Michaela told the officer he was around 38-years-old, about 6ft tall and was wearing a blue fleece and glasses.
The force traditionally uses Bonfire Night to re-appeal for anyone with any information about the murder to come forward, but detectives have stayed silent for the last two years.
Detective Superintendent Lisa Ray told The Star that the case is ‘continually reviewed’ and the woman’s claims were ‘thoroughly investigated’.
She said: “A full statement was taken from her and was recorded on the police system, where it remains today and can be accessed by us at any time.
“We also took additional steps to corroborate her statement by speaking to people close to her, who verified her account. Her evidence was recorded and processed through the major incident room and was fully considered at the time.
“The death of Michaela Hague is continually reviewed, as are other unsolved cases, and any new lines of enquiry will be pursued by specially-trained detectives.
“We are extremely grateful for the information we receive from those who want to help with our investigations, and we are happy to explain our processes.”
Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.