October 19, 2018

Father mistakenly accused of his son's murder dies 3 days after the real killer is imprisoned

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A woman walks into a police station and confesses to a crime after 14 years. No, is not a joke, that’s exactly what Karen Tunmore did last July. She murdered a teenager in cold blood in 2004, and it was the boy’s father who paid for her crime.

Scott Pritchard was 19 when he was brutally attacked with a bat outside his home in Sunderland and died from his injuries soon after.

The investigation of the murder case was one of the most fruitless the local police station has managed, with over 1600 statements taken and 4000 documents produced with no result despite the involvement of 300 police officers in the case.

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Now, 14 years after the teenager’s tragic death, his murderer came forward to confess her crime, and officers were stunned. They admit there’s no way they could have linked the woman with the case back then. She didn’t have a direct connection with Pritchard.

THE CONFESSION

Karen walked into the Middle Engine Lane police station in Wallsend, North Tyneside, in the company of a friend. She expressed her wish to confess to her crime, stating that she couldn’t live with the guilt anymore.

Officers weary at first of Karen’s involvement in the crime, but she made sure to mention every little detail about the murder that only someone who was there could have known. Police Det Ch Insp John Bent said:

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“The chilling level of detail she told us gave us reason to believe she was responsible. She said she disposed of the bat that was used, washed the car mats and sold the car she used, which was blood-stained from the weapon. The interviewing officer said she was very upset and in the early stages she seemed contrite and genuinely remorseful for her actions.”

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THE CONNECTION

At the time of his death, Pritchard was on crutches after suffering a lesson on his foot. The teenager owed some money to a member of a dangerous gang called Hendon Mad Dogs, and the man, in return owed Karen.

So, the pair drove to the boy’s house to collect the money, but when he said he didn’t have any, the woman “saw red” and attacked him with the bat, which she carried around for security reasons.

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“It's perhaps not unsurprising that it was never detected because her link to Scott was so tenuous," explained Bent.

THE FALSE ACCUSATION

A witness told the police back then that they saw two men before the attack. Police believe they could have been Karen and the gang member. She could have passed as a man because of her haircut and clothes.

A year after Pritchard’s death, his father, Robert Stacey, was accused of the murder. He was arrested and spent 16 weeks in jail, but the case was dropped when the prosecutor couldn’t present evidence to condemn Stacey.

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“It was heartbreaking. I was charged and sent to Durham Prison for 16 weeks, in a cell 23 hours a day. It was the worst time of my life. I was in prison for a crime I knew I was not responsible for,” said Stacey on a victim statement read at Karen’s murder trial.

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The man went on to say that even after being released, people kept pointing their finger at him and he was afraid of going out in public because the people would yell rude things at him.

THE CLOSURE

“I’ve been asked how I feel now someone, after 14 years, has admitted to Scott’s murder. I feel broken; it’s brought everything back. I’ve cried every day. I only hope now my family, and I can have some closure,” Stacey said.

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However, the man died from a heart attack just three days before Karen was charged with murder and sentenced to a lifetime in jail with a minimum term of 17 and half years.

The family was devastated by the loss of their father and the fact he didn’t get t see justice be made for his son, but Kathleen Pritchard, Scott’s mother, and Stacey’s wife, said:

“Every night for more than ten years I went to sleep knowing his killer was out there, who was refusing to come forward and allow the family closure.

Now, with his killer behind bars, we finally have some kind of justice for Scott and hope he can rest in peace knowing the person who did this is no longer walking the streets."

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Even though it came late and Mr. Stacey didn't get to enjoy, justice finally came for this grieving family. 

 

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