Irvine cold-case killer urged to examine conscience

image captionA poster from the time of Shona Stevens' murder

The killer of a woman who was murdered 25 years ago has been urged to "search your conscience" by police.

Shona Stevens was savagely attacked in broad daylight 200 yards (180m) from her home in Irvine, North Ayrshire, in November 1994.

Ms Stevens, 31, suffered "horrific injuries" and died three days later.

Her mother and her daughter, who was only seven at the time, joined police in marking the anniversary with a fresh appeal for information.

Asked if he had a message for the killer, Det Supt Paul Livingstone said: "It has been 25 years. It is a huge burden. Shona's family have endured this for too long now. Do the right thing and come forward."

image captionDet Supt Paul Livingstone issued a direct appeal to the killer to mark the 25th anniversary of Ms Stevens' murder

On Thursday 10 November, 1994, Ms Stevens left the Co-op at Bourtreehill Shopping Centre and was last seen alone on Towerlands Road at 13:10.

Ten minutes later her body was found in bushes near a footpath, close to the rear of her home in Alder Green in the Bourtreehill Park area.

Det Supt Livingstone described the attack as "vicious and frenzied".

He said: "Her family have had to endure this for too long now. That's why we are having this appeal 25 years on, because I firmly believe that the answer lies in the local community."

Officers believe a weapon was involved but it was never recovered.

Det Supt Livingstone also said the inquiry team were keeping an open mind as to a motive for the crime.

He would not disclose whether officers had a DNA profile of the suspect but said technology was constantly creating new forensic opportunities.

During the Elaine Doyle murder trial in 2014 a court heard that convicted killer Gavin McGuire was interviewed in connection with Ms Stevens' murder.

image captionThe then Strathclyde Police staged a reconstruction of Ms Stevens' final movements

Despite extensive media coverage, including a reconstruction of Ms Stevens' final movements, no one has been brought to justice.

The senior detective also encouraged anyone who knew the identity of Ms Stevens' attacker to consider the devastating impact the crime has had on her family, especially her daughter.

He said: "Shona was a young mother who was subject to an unprovoked attack that has left her family devastated and we want to trace those responsible.

"I think everyone can assume for themselves what it must have been like for any child to grow up without a parent.

"That to me is all the catalyst that anyone should need that, if they have any information, to come forward and tell us about that."

He added: "This is very much an open case and we will keep working away until we find who is responsible and bring them to justice."

He said the footpath where Ms Stevens was found was regularly used by the public to access Bourtreehill Shopping Centre.

image captionShona's mother, Mhairi Smith, issued an emotional appeal to the media a week after the murder in November 1994

As part of the new appeal Ms Stevens' family issued brief statements through Police Scotland.

Daughter Candice, who is now one year older than her late mother, said: "I was only seven at the time of my mum's murder but that does not make it any easier to deal with.

"I spent a large part of my childhood years growing up without my mum and I would please ask anyone who knows anything about the incident to please come forward."

The victim's mother Mhairi Smith said: "It has been 25 years since Shona was taken from us and we are still as hopeful as ever that those responsible for her murder can be brought to justice.

"I cannot emphasise enough how important even the smallest piece of information could be in being able to give me and my family closure.

"I want to know who was responsible for this attack and why they did it. If you have any information about Shona and her murder please contact the police."

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