Penny Bell murder: Daughter pleads for help 30 years after unsolved killing

For 30 years the murder of successful businesswoman and mother Penny Bell has remained unsolved – her killer stabbing her more than 50 times in broad daylight before vanishing without a trace.

Now, three decades on, her daughter Lauren Bell is pleading for anyone with information to unlock the puzzle and release her family from the sadness of not knowing who carried out the murder, or why.

“Our mother loved life. She was very positive and loved people,” Lauren told the Sky News Daily podcast.

“I would ask anybody to just help us in this situation, because not only does it release us from this sort of vortex of frustration and soul-destroying pain… it also takes one very bad person off the streets.”

With no known enemies, and her happy outlook on life, Penny seemed one of the last people you would imagine to be the victim of such a crime. Her murder, therefore, remains one of the UK’s most mysterious unsolved crimes.

On the morning of Thursday 6 June 1991, everything appeared normal at Penny Bell’s home in Denham, Buckinghamshire, which she shared with her two children and husband.

She told builders working on the house she had an appointment and drove off in her pale blue Jaguar XJS. That was the last positive sighting of her.

At around midday, police were called to Gurnell Grove Swimming Pool in Greenford, West London.

Her body was slumped in the driver’s seat of her car, covered in blood.

She had been repeatedly stabbed in a frenzied attack.

Her handbag was open behind the front passenger seat and still contained all of Penny’s personal belongings with nothing, apparently, having been stolen. There was no evidence of sexual assault.

The area would have been busy, with around 300 people using the leisure facilities or car park that morning.

Lauren cannot believe no one saw the attack, or caught sight of the murderer who would have been covered in blood.

She believes the person may not have acted alone and said: “How you would just exit a car and walk away? It’s impossible. So in my mind, there had to be another car. There had to be another person.”

A number of people came forward claiming to have seen a Jaguar car similar to Penny’s near the pool in Greenford Road on the morning of her death, driving erratically.

One report suggested a man was seen in the passenger seat and a woman behind the wheel mouthing the words “Help me”.

There were also a couple of reported sightings that morning of someone looking like Penny and a similar car in Fulmer Common Road at Black Park, Iver, Buckinghamshire.

In another twist, Penny had withdrawn £8,500 from her bank in the days before her death. Where the money is, and who she had an appointment with on the day she was killed, are all questions which remain unanswered.

In January 2019 a new witness came forward. They told police they believe on the day Penny was killed they saw a man in his underwear who appeared wet, as if he had just washed, walking across the footbridge that crosses the A40 Western Avenue in Greenford. That person has never come forward.

Tragically the murder tore the family apart. Lauren and her brother are both estranged from their father.

All these years later Lauren just wants to know the truth. She believes the murderer must now be in their later stages of life and might be prepared to unburden themselves, or someone they have confessed to may finally be ready to speak.

She said: “Maybe people will revisit certain things… or feel like this is the time to come forward and maybe say something.

“But it’s very likely that I will see out my old age and have to see my daughter grow up and explain that I have no answers and that sometimes in life, terrible things happen and we never know why. That’s very painful.”

She has named her daughter Penny, after the mother she lost.

If you have any information about Penny Bell’s murder you can call the police on 0208 7858267 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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