Claire Tiltman murder: Prosecutors consider charges over Kent killing

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Media captionThe Dartford Grammar School pupil was attacked as she took a shortcut to visit a friend

Prosecutors could charge a man with the murder of 16-year-old schoolgirl Claire Tiltman, who was stabbed in Kent 21 years ago, the BBC understands.

A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said it was "considering a file of evidence submitted by Kent Police in relation to the murder".

It is understood that the file relates to Colin Ash-Smith, a suspect whose home was searched three times.

Ash-Smith is currently serving three life sentences for attacks on women.

The attacks include the stabbing of 22-year-old Charlotte Barnard in October 1995, yards from the alleyway where Claire was murdered.

He was convicted of attempted murder and jailed in 1997.

Ash-Smith's former home in Myrtle Place, Stone, near Dartford, was last searched by police in September.

At the time, his father Aubrey Ash-Smith, who lives in the property, told the BBC his son was innocent.

Claire was stabbed more than 40 times in the alleyway near her home in Greenhithe in 1993, four days after her birthday.

The Dartford Grammar School pupil, who was known to her friends as Tilt, was attacked as she took a shortcut to visit a friend.

The CPS spokesman told BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw that prosecutors "hope to reach a decision as soon as is practicably possible".

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