Police Appeal On Anniversary Of Brutal Murder

Police are using the 20th anniversary of the brutal death of a man from Leighton Buzzard to ask for the public's help to catch his killer or killers.

Mr Sheppard (pictured), who was aged 66 was working on Saturday, 3 December 1994, as the manager of the John Horwood bookmakers’ in Cambridge Street in Aylesbury.

At around closing time, 5pm, other staff had left for the day and Mr Sheppard was alone in the premises.

The shop was a head office for a number of other shops in the chain and Mr Sheppard was required to wait to receive details of the takings from the other shops before he finished work for the day. He had a short telephone call at 5.15pm with another manager in the chain.

The shop was then subject to a robbery. It is unknown how the offenders entered the shop.

Mr Sheppard was stabbed and struck to his head. Money was stolen from the shop, however a large quantity of cash was left in Mr Sheppard’s pockets.

Mr Sheppard’s body was found in the shop shortly after 6.30pm when he did not meet a friend as he had planned.

Principal investigator Peter Beirne, from Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Investigation Review Team, said 20 years on:

"I am appealing to anyone who has any information about the murder of John Sheppard to contact the police. Mr Sheppard was subject to a horrific attack. He received more than 40 wounds which were inflicted by an offender or offenders who have not yet been traced.

Over the years many officers have spent many hours attempting to solve this case. Despite a very thorough and professional investigation, the offence remains undetected. Recent work carried out by the Major Crime Investigation Review Team has resulted in new forensic evidence being found at the scene. The evidence could be used to implicate or eliminate people.

On this twentieth anniversary I urge anyone who has knowledge or suspicions of who the offender may be to appeal to your conscience and get in touch. The reason why you have not already come forward with information may be long gone and is unimportant. Over the years allegiances may have changed, and now there is an opportunity to play a part in bringing justice for Mr Sheppard’s family.

If you have any information which could assist the investigation, please contact the Major Crime Investigation Review Team via the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101.

Thames Valley Police is offering a £10,000 reward for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the offender.

Family Statement

The following is a statement from Emma Meir, John Sheppard's daughter, on the twentieth anniversary of the undetected murder of Mr Sheppard in Aylesbury on 3 December 1994.

"As life naturally continues for mum and I living over here in Australia, annually neither of us dismiss days like Dad's birthday, Christmas time and the New Year. There seems to be a softer remembrance of him around those dates. That said, the build up towards one annual date is no easier today than it was 20 years ago.

December 3rd, a date that both mum and I shall never forget, it only holds deep heartache and a sad loss. I remember the first month of dad's death I had this permanent headache, I realised l hadn't cried, I hadn't allowed the horror of the violent ordeal that he had endured envelop me, I couldn't, my mum was shattered and I was numb.

I think when you’re told of those horrific injuries that he incurred you naturally go into a state of shock. I remember thinking 'well you watch a movie and they catch the bad guy at the end' or 'you read about this in the newspapers - it happened to someone else' but it didn't it happened to us, it really happened to us.

I think I have lived in every emotion in the past 20 years, anger being the longest. Angry that a human being or beings could do that to someone and quite possibly be a husband, a parent, a friend and walk the streets like a normal person - a free person.

For years it has been closure that we have wanted but I need clarity around this too. Both mum and I need to know why and surely someone has a conscience and surely it's time that we can lay my dad to rest!

I have lived without a father through the best times of my life, both mum and I enjoy our lives here in Australia, apart from the heat I am sure he would have fallen into the Australian lifestyle quite well, we have horse racing here too..! I have a new husband and two beautiful children who he would have loved so much, it saddens me just to think of how he would have enjoyed my family - his family, and they too would have loved him. He was such a funny dad, he was my dad."