31st December 1966
Finnish au pair is murdered in St Clement
In December 1966, Tuula Hoeoek, who had come to Jersey from Finland, received a phone call. Although the contents of the call have never been disclosed, whatever they were caused the 20-year-old, who had been working as a waitress at the Southampton Hotel at the time, to immediately start looking for a new job. Moreover, she asked her colleagues at the hotel not to pass on to anyone details of wherever she might end up next.
If the call were related to what happened next, it would appear she had good reason as, by the end of the month, she’d been found dead. As Jersey Police outlined in a cold case appeal in 2013, “at about 7.30pm on Friday 30 December she left Beach Road to catch a bus from Georgetown to see friends at Pontac. It was raining heavily around that time.”
At 10.45 the following morning, New Year’s Eve, her body was discovered in a field in St Clement. She’d been battered about the head.
An anonymous tip-off
Soon after the body had been reported, police received an anonymous phone call of their own, from a phone box close to the field in which she’d been found. As the Daily Mirror reported on 3 January 1967, “the caller – a man – urged police to ‘look for a certain type of person’. The public phone has now been dismantled and is being examined by fingerprint experts.”
The case was immediately given every possible resource. Two days later, the Coventry Evening Telegraph reported that all Jersey Police leave had been cancelled as officers worked to identify a motorist who had pulled up at the bus stop where Tuula had been waiting the night she disappeared. The paper reported that she had not been sexually assaulted, nothing was missing from her bag and there was, seemingly, no motive. Neither was there a murder weapon, leaving police very little to go on.
However, on 8 January 1967, The People reported that Tuula’s mother had given police a description of the killer, which had come to her in a dream that she’d had on her first night in Jersey after flying to the island to help. The paper quoted, “he is short, aged about 30, has dark hair, a sloping forehead and wears a beret. If an arrest is made I have begged the island police chief… to let me see a photograph. I shall know if it is the right man.” Tuula’s mother further claimed that the au pair’s sister had similarly dreamed about the murder several weeks before.
A renewed appeal
The descriptions were insufficient to bring the case to a close and, in 2013, the BBC reported on Jersey Police’s renewed attempt to solve the crime, and the force’s continued belief that the mystery phone call could be a clue. They believed that someone still living in the island might know what it was about, or even know who had killed her. “[We] firmly believe that there is someone still living in Jersey today who holds vital information as to what happened to Tuula that night and who has not yet come forward to the police and shared this information,” said police. “Perhaps someone close or known to them returned home that night or the next day acting strangely or out of character, perhaps even with injuries, or blood or mud on their clothing or vehicle. Perhaps their personality changed over the next few days or weeks, or perhaps in the months or years that followed they have said something which has caused others concern.”
Although insufficient to close the case, the 2013 appeal elicited more than 50 phone calls over six months, some of which came from people who had not previously contacted the police. Some of the information provided from those calls led police to become interested in an informal club for foreigners in the Georgetown area.
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Other events that occured in December
Old-school pornographer is sentenced to hard labour
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