The main story here is the unsolved murder of April Fabb who vanished on 8th April 1969. This 13 year old girl was out on her bicycle riding between the villages of Metton and Roughton, Norfolk, UK. Her plan that afternoon was to visited her sister.
She left home at 1.40 pm. On the journey she met some friends and chatted with them for 10 minutes. At just after 2 pm she was seen cycling safely, but by 2.15 pm her bicycle was seen abandoned in a field. Obviously the time line was put together later as hours dragged into days while the police were searching for her.
When found the bicycle had all the things with it that April had left home with. I looked on the Norfolk Constabulary website and there is a good write up of the case. I have left a link below.
What is surprising is that even though she was observed in such a small time frame, and disappeared in a sliver of minutes, there is hardly any information to go on. The police did what they should do. Statements were taken and leads followed, but even now no-one has any idea what happened to this child.
When another 13 year old went missing in 1978 the Norfolk cops immediately noted the very clear similarities.
Genette Tate, was on a bicycle delivering newspapers when she also vanished after chatting with friends on a country lane. There was some local intrigue, but otherwise it was almost a carbon copy crime. Neither case has been solved and neither girl has been seen since the day they vanished. The crimes were committed six hours drive time from each other. Can I say there is a link? Of course not. It could just be coincidence, a striking one.
Concentrating of April Fabb I praise the Norfolk cops for their website. Many do not list older unsolved murders. Their site not only mentions them, but the content is really detailed. I think it is important because if a wtness from long ago is about to break some information where might they look? Where might they be seeking reassurance that they will be taken seriously? I would suggest an enthusiastic police interest is really important as a first point of online contact.
I quote from the Norfolk Police website:
‘This case is one of the most high profile in Norfolk’s history and despite the passing of time it continues to be prominent in the public’s and the constabulary’s mind. Sadly April’s mother passed away not knowing what happened to April. Officers are determined to find closure for her remaining family and will continue to seek any new credible and relevant information that could unlock this mystery.’
A Daily Mail article from 2019 interviewed retired Detective Chief Inspector Andy Guy. He was head of the cold case review team. He said of the investigation:
‘April was either abducted by someone from away who just happen to be in the area (at) the time, or it was close to home – somebody she knew. If it was the latter case there may be people in Norfolk who suspect what happened and never came forward.’
Those of us in the UK might well think of the notorious child killer Robert Black when we hear of abductions from this period. In April Fabb’s case this is said to be an unlikely connection. According to Mr Guy, Black was in London working back in 69, but did not have his own vehicle. I know that does not rule him out. As I recall he drove for quite sometime without passing a test etc, but what can I say? The police at least do not make a link to Black for this one.
On a point of order they were never able to make more than an unlikely link to him and Genette Tate either. I am the first to admit that when you look at the murder of Jennifer Cardy, a killing he was convicted of, the similarities are impossible to miss.
In the enquiry that followed April’s disappearance a van and a red Austin Mini were seen in the area at the crucial time and they were not traced. I saw a report of a bloody handkerchief turning up, I saw it said April had been seen getting on a train in Norwich. Otherwise there is nothing new.
Do we have a typical scenario?
The offender sees April and maybe passes her. They turn the vehicle they are in around and then drive back blocking her path. They get out subdue her and throw the bicycle into the field and drive off. The period of clear time for this offence to be committed is estimated at seven minutes only. I don’t envy the coppers the job of nailing that case down back in 1969.
As was mentioned above her mother and father passed away without any solution or peace about losing their daughter. What awful pieces of garbage we have walking amongst us eh?
We have recently been concentrating on UK crimes from this period. In particular the activities of a killer of children called Brian Lunn Field. Sadly, we also have a growing list of kids who fell victim to the like of him. If this is an area of unsolved crime that interests you please just search the word ‘child’ on this site. It will come up with any article mentioning the word itself, however, you will be able to see specific cases of kids being abducted and murdered. Almost all await justice.
I would like to mention in particular another Norfolk case, that of 14 year old Joanna Young from 1992. Click here