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When Missing Turns to Murder: episodes

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Episode 1: Helen McCourt – Monday 4 March, 9pm

Twenty-two-year-old insurance clerk Helen McCourt was returning from work in Liverpool on her way to meet her friend but changed her plans because of bad weather. Fifteen miles away a dog walker found two blood-stained towels and several items of discarded men’s clothing – one with a beer brand logo popular with the George and Dragon pub where she worked the year before.

Police questioned the landlord Ian Simms and a search of his car discovered blood and part of an opal and sapphire earring – identical to ones given to Helen. He was arrested for murder as more than 5,000 members of public combed the area looking for her, but a body could not be found.

This compelling episode features the inspiring Marie McCourt, who has fought for Helen’s law to be introduced to prevent parole for killers who refuse to reveal the location of their victims' bodies.

Episode 2: Lorraine Benson

The second episode of the series reveals the story of 22-year-old Lorraine Benson’s murder following a work Christmas party in 1988. Lorraine arrived at Raynes Park tube station, where her friend failed to meet her as planned.

Within hours her belongings had been found and by the morning a body had been discovered beaten and strangled. Forensic evidence helped close in on John Dunne, a suspect previously arrested for attempted rape.

His confession to Lorraine’s murder saw him convicted and given a life sentence.

Episode 3: Natalie Hemming

Natalie Hemming had been reported missing on a bank holiday Sunday after a night out. Two days later Natalie’s former partner of 10 years Paul was questioned by police and informed them that Natalie had been raped on the Saturday night and had gone away to 'clear her head'. Three days after she was reported missing Paul was arrested and charged with her murder, and Natalie’s body was discovered three weeks later.

In the ensuing investigation, Natalie’s son testified that after being woken and walking downstairs, he’d seen his mother wrapped in a rug. This led the forensic team to blood spots on the table near where the rug had been, ensuring Paul’s conviction.

With contributions from Natalie’s sisters Joanne and Kerry, and Forensic Criminologist Jane Monckton-Smith, this episode tells a tragic story of how a turbulent relationship ended in jealous murder.

Episode 4: Wesley Neailey

This episode tells the harrowing story of 11-year-old Wesley Neailey, who was befriended then brutally raped and murdered by psychopathic 18-year-old Dominic McKilligan.

McKilligan had been relocated by social services from Bournemouth to Durham after a spate of violent attacks on more than 40 young boys in 1998, but a glaring series of mistakes meant that he had not been listed on the Sex Offenders Register.

Episode 5: Carole Packman

In 1985 Carole Packman left a note to say she was leaving the family home for good. This explanation was widely accepted, that was until almost 10 years later when her husband Russell committed insurance fraud by faking his own death.

This episode chronicles Carole’s daughter Sam’s desperate search to find out what happened to Carole and with the help of police it turns out her disappearance wasn’t as it first appeared.

Episode 6: Danielle Jones

Danielle Jones, aged 15, was last seen on June 18 2001 near her home in East Tilbury, Essex when leaving for school. Later that day, Danielle’s school rang her home to say she hadn’t turned up. Eyewitnesses saw a school girl arguing with a man, with further reports suggesting she was seen with a man with a blue van.

After Danielle had been reported as missing, police turned their focus to the blue van, leading them to her uncle, Stuart Campbell.

Episode 7: Shafilea Ahmed

Shafilea Ahmed from Cheshire ran away from home a number of times before her parents attempted to force her to marry a cousin in Pakistan. After friends reported her missing, the police launched a missing persons enquiry, while Shafilea’s friends told police of how she spoke about rows at home.

Episode 8: Jayden Parkinson

The tragic story of 17-year-old Jayden Parkinson centres around her violent and controlling relationship with 22-year-old Ben Blakeley. Jayden was strangled by Blakeley after she told him she was pregnant with his child. He buried her in a shallow ditch before moving her body and dumping her in his uncle’s grave with the help of his brother, who was told Ben was burying weapons and a dog.

Episode 9: Evelyn Lund

One wintry day in France in 1999, Evelyn Lund left the home of her close friend – and vanished. The following month her second husband Robert Lund reported her missing and French police began their search for Evelyn. Visiting her worried family in England, they teamed up with Lancashire police and the united forces began to piece together a worrying picture of the troubled domestic life of Evelyn and Robert Lund. With no sign of Mrs Lund and evidence mounting, the finger of suspicion pointed towards Robert. Convinced that this was more than a simple missing person case, police arrested Robert, but under French law they were unable to pursue a murder charge without a body, so he was released.

Episode 10: Janet Müller

The last episode of the series tells the story of Janet Müller, who was a bright and fun-loving 21-year-old German exchange student at Brighton University. In March 2015, Janet was admitted to hospital after being found by the police at a bus stop in her night clothes. With no history of mental illness, Janet was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, unable to discharge herself. Ten days later Janet climbed over a wall to escape from the hospital and was found burnt in the boot of Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw’s car. In court, He told the jury he had been involved with drug dealers who borrowed his hire car for a robbery which went wrong, and then ordered him to set fire to the vehicle. Jeffrey-Shaw was later convicted on manslaughter charges. The inquest was unable to confirm why Janet had ended up in the car but upon sentencing Jeffrey-Shaw, the judge, said: 'The only difference between you and a murderer is an extremely thin line.'