The time was approximately 2:30 in the afternoon.
A teenage girl stood at the side of the road with her thumb out, attempting to hitch a ride back home to Manchester.
She had recently moved from London to Manchester and had traveled back to the capital city with her flat mate to retrieve the rest of her belongings. While there, the girls attended a party where the teenager met a man in his early twenties. The pair spent the weekend together before he dropped her off at Hendon so she could thumb a ride back to Manchester.
The girls name was Jackie (often spelled Jacci) Ansell Lamb; she was just 18 years old and worked as a legal secretary in Manchester.
She was seen by various witnesses at the beginning of the M1, attempting to get a lift Northbound.
(Unlike today, hitchhiking was a common practice back in the seventies.)
The journey from London to Manchester spanned 200miles and would have taken around 4 hours to complete. She managed to get picked up, a great stroke of fortune she probably thought at the time- unfortunately for Jacci, her journey would end just half an hour from her desired destination.
Less than a week later, On Saturday the 14th of March, a farmer near Mere, in Knutsford, near the M6; found the body of young woman in a thicket on a rural country road near Mobberley.
This archived page from “the Cheshire magazine” gives a more specific location: “Square Wood, Mere, near Knutsford” which looks like this on Google maps:
The girl had been strangled to death (ligature) and was in a state of undress.
She had been raped.
After a call for information one man came forward as an eye witness. He claimed that he saw Jacci climb into a vehicle around 4-5 in the evening at the Keele service motorway station (Three Mile Lane, Keele, Newcastle-Under-Lyme ST5 5HG, UK).
He described her as being clad in a long navy coat and shiny maroon shoes. She was also wearing a blonde wig and false lashes.
From what I can find online, this could make sense.
She left London around 2:30pm and was seen between 4 - 5pm in Keele, which is about a 3 hour drive (169 miles) meaning the witness could have seen her around the time he claimed.
From there it would only be an hours’ drive from the Keele service station to the site that Lamb’s body was found.
I’m not sure if she was getting into the same car she’d hitchhiked in from London to Keele or if she was getting into a second ride from Keele to Manchester and never made it.
The only description of the car at Keele is that it was a saloon. This information was found HERE<<
I wanted to know more about Jacci (Or Jackie as her name is often spelled in various reports) and eventually found a book on the Yorkshire ripper containing some extra information. HERE <<
Now According to this book, Jacci was found face down with a wound to the back of her skull. The Navy blue jacket the witness had described seeing is said to be purple, but exactly the same style, which makes me think the eyewitness who saw Lamb at the Keele station is believable.
The jacket had been ripped from her body and was torn at the buttons indicating a struggle. Apparently the killer had used the coat to hide her from view and her skirt was placed next to her.
In this book, the ligature is thought to have been a length of knotted rope or some kind of wire, as indicated by the bruising around her neck. Other articles do state it was electrical wire.
Apparently her body had been posed. This is a detail I have not seen anywhere else.
This book suggests that Peter Sutcliff, also known as “the Yorkshire ripper”, could very well be responsible for the murder of Lamb. However surely they have his DNA and could have matched it with the DNA from the girl’s body. I’m presuming there was some?
Now there is an eerily similar case that is always mentioned in the same breath as the unsolved murder of Jacci Ansell Lamb, and that is “the unsolved murder of Barbara Mayo”.
Now Mayo was a 24 year old trainee teacher who was hitchhiking from Hendon, at the start of the A1 going Northbound to Catterick, North Yorkshire - the same starting point as Jacci Ansell Lamb. It was also the same year- Monday the 12th of October, 1970.
Apparently she set off to Catterick with the intention of hitchhiking there to pick up her boyfriend’s car at a garage they’d left it at, as it had broken down on a journey back from County Durham the previous day. She was carrying a unique looking bag with her which was decorated with an elephant design.
Unfortunately she never turned up to the garage and also failed to return home to shepherds bush, London. She was quickly reported missing.
Her body was found near Hodmire lane, Glapwell, Aul Hucknall in Derbyshire, much in the same state as Jacci Ansell Lamb’s. Most online articles simply state that she was raped and strangled, but the book “Yorkshire Ripper - The Secret Murders: The True Story of How Peter Sutcliffe's Terrible Reign of Terror Claimed at Least Twenty-Two More Lives” She too had a wound to the back of the skull, had been raped and strangled to death with a ligature.
Police set up stops to question people along the motorway and appealed publicly for information. One eyewitness claimed that they saw a young woman who looked like Mayo climbing into a Morris 1000 estate Traveller van (quite a memorable car imo) at 4 in the afternoon. They apparently saw (who they believed to be) Mayo getting into the car along the A610 in Nottinghamshire.
-So both women began their journeys Northbound at the start of the A1.
-Both were raped and strangled.
-Both had injuries to the back of the head (apparently).
-Both were possibly seen by witnesses around the same time frame.
-They were murdered within seven months of each other.
Although I’m aware of Peter Sutcliffe, I’ve never looked into his crimes in depth, but this excerpt from an article about Sutcliffe’s potentially much higher body count piqued my interest.
“His MO included prior conversation with his victims, the use of hammer (usually with a round head or ‘ball-peen’) from behind, repeated stabbing after death with a knife or screwdriver, partially stripping and moving his victim’s body and posing them in a ‘staged’ crime scene. He sometimes used a knotted roped to strangle victims, and semen was sometimes left at the scene.”
Hitting the victim on the back of the head, posing the bodies, rape, and strangulation with a ligature? Sounds all too familiar as an MO. I think we’ll have to look into this in more detail in a whole other post on Sutcliffe in the near future.
Now this next part of the story confused me.
Numerous reports state there was DNA found on both victims from the same man that linked both cases to the same unidentified perpetrator. But when searching about this it seems as though this was a case of misreporting on the media’s part.
Apparently there was never any confirmation about the DNA found on both bodies belonging to the same person. I found a request for information regarding this detail online, however it was rejected by the Cheshire Constabulary and the original asker was referred to a previous question that was similar in nature.
The entire exchange can be viewed HERE<<
Check back for part 2 very soon.