Still no justice for Billie-Jo 19 years on

Billie-Jo Jenkins
Billie-Jo Jenkins

Today (February 15) marks the 19th anniversary of the murder of teenager Billie-Jo Jenkins in Hastings.

Billie-Jo was battered to death by an iron tent peg on February 15, 1997, as she painted a patio door in the garden of her Lower Park Road home.

Yet, almost two decades later her killer remains at large.

Billie-Jo’s foster father Sion Jenkins was cleared of murdering the Helenswood teenager after spending six years in jail

Mr Jenkins, 54, was arrested nine days after the schoolgirl’s death and was found guilty at Lewes Crown Court on July 2, 1998.

He was freed on appeal pending a retrial in 2004.

The jury in two subsequent retrials failed to reach a verdict and Mr Jenkins was formally acquitted in 2006.

In August, 2010, Mr Jenkins lost his bid for compensation over the six years he spent in prison.

The Observer contacted Sussex Police to ask if a renewed appeal for information would be issued to mark the anniversary of Billie-Jo’s killing.

A police spokesman replied: “No, no plans to issue anything further at this stage.”

Readers contacted us to say they wanted the perpetrator to know ‘Hastings and St Leonards has not forgotten what happened to her’.

There were also calls for the town to mark the anniversary in some way in a bid to raise awareness and potentially bring new information to light.

In January, 2008, a memorial bench for the teenager was unveiled in Alexandra Park.

Friends of Billie-Jo raised the money for the bench which was designed by local artist Joc O’Hare.

The ‘child-friendly’ bench was made from locally felled English Oak and engraved with a message to Billie-Jo from her friends.

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