UK UK - Diane Jones, 35, Coggeshall, Essex, murdered 23 July 1983

shadwell

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Okay, finally finished gathering these and putting them into a timeline. The Lady in the podcast wasn't kidding, The media went nuts over this case. Due to age some of these are a little hard to read.

Photos of police Diver, RJ and DJ - The Daily Telegraph Sat, Aug 06, 1983 · Page 3

Police To Examine Car Sold By Doctor - The Guardian Tue, Aug 09, 1983 · Page 4

Picnic Spot Hunt For Doctor's Wife - Evening Post Wed, Aug 10, 1983 · Page 1

Missing Wife's Lover's Sought By Police - The Daily Telegraph Thu, Aug 11, 1983 · Page 3

Doctor Takes A Break - Liverpool Echo Fri, Aug 12, 1983 · Page 1

Doctor's Trip - Evening Standard Fri, Aug 12, 1983 · Page 5

I Did Not Kill Her! - The Sunday People Sun, Aug 21, 1983 · Page 1

Doctor Quizzed Again - Sunday Telegraph Sun, Aug 21, 1983 · Page 1

BMA Bars Tip-Offs In Hunt For GP's Wife - The Daily Telegraph Sat, Aug 27, 1983 · Page 3

Missing Wife's Bag Is Found - The Daily Telegraph Tue, Aug 30, 1983 · Page 1

Doctor Takes A Bike Ride To Paradise - The Sunday People Sun, Sep 11, 1983 · Page 3

Roadside Dig For Body - The Daily Telegraph Tue, Sep 20, 1983 Page 1

"Aid Hunt For Killer" Plea By Financier - The Daily Telegraph Thu, Oct 06, 1983 · Page 3

Riddle Over Murder Victim - Liverpool Echo Mon, Oct 24, 1983 · Page 3

Diane: Body In Wood Mystery - Evening Post Mon, Oct 24, 1983 · Page 3

Body Sparks Switch In Hunt - Evening Post Mon, Oct 24, 1983 · Page 1

Body In The Wood "Is My Daughter" - Evening Standard Mon, Oct 24, 1983 · Page 5

Battered Body "May Be Wife Of Doctor - The Guardian Tue, Oct 25, 1983 · Page 5

Police Search Doctor's House - Evening Standard Tue, Oct 25, 1983 · Page 2

Doctor Faces New Quiz Over Wife - Evening Standard Wed, Oct 26, 1983 · Page 11

Diane: Club Joins Hunt For Murder Weapon - Evening Post Sat, Oct 29, 1983 · Page 3

My Violent Affair With Wife - Sunday Mirror Sun, Oct 30, 1983 · Page 2

Doc's Helper - The Sunday People Sun, Dec 04, 1983 · Page 2

Doctor Denies Romance - The Journal Mon, Dec 05, 1983 · Page 2

Driving Ban On Doctor Jones In Drink Case - The Daily Telegraph Thu, Dec 15, 1983 · Page 6

Doctor Jones Questioned Again - The Journal Fri, Feb 10, 1984 · Page 2

DPP Has No Case Against Doctor - The Guardian Fri, Apr 06, 1984 · Page 3

Doctor Not To Face Dead Wife Charge - The Guardian Fri, Apr 06, 1984 · Page 1

Grim Ordeal Goes On For Doctor Jones - Sunday Mirror Sun, Apr 08, 1984 · Page 5

Diane Will Lie In Peace - Sunday Mirror Sun, Apr 15, 1984 · Page 15 (misspelling was in headline)

New Ban On Death Probe Doctor - Wed, Apr 18, 1984 · Page 2

RJ's behaviour does seem a bit off. Why would you feel the need to sell a car while your wife is missing??? Also don't the families of missing people usually appreciate media coverage keeping there loved one's case in the public eye? Yet RJ runs from it and seems annoyed by it. Going so far as to leave the country to get away from it. That in itself seems odd to me. Going on all these "vacations" instead of actively working on trying to find Diane. She was only missing at that point. Some of his actions just don't make sense to me.
Apologies for slightly ‘shooting your fox’ on this - one of your clippings came up in a Google search yesterday and I tracked to your account from there. Thanks for doing this.

Yes, some curious behaviour by RJ - sold the car (with his wife’s bag and various other personal effects still in it) before reporting her missing. Repainting the metal gate is also an interesting one - makes me wonder slightly as to actual cause of death - could the hammer attack have occurred post-mortem in an attempt to hamper identification? Appears identification of the body via dental records was made more difficult by some teeth having been knocked out - though I see no mention of other injuries that might suggest (for example) being run over by a car.

Perhaps not surprising there was extensive tabloid interest, given the sheer amount of salacious details around the case. Annoying that digital newspaper archives are so patchy, though. None of the East Anglian local papers that would have carried much of the more mundane (but perhaps more telling) detail of the case seem to be represented.
 

shadwell

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Link to Shutterstock photo showing police searching the car with (what appears to be) DJ’s handbag in the foreground (on top of the clipboards). Annoyingly the front of the car is obscured, so it’s not possible to tell if there is any damage present. Would be interesting to know if any repairs (and/or tyre replacements) were done on it prior to sale or by the new owner:

 

Pinkizzy

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He was drink driving a lot at that time, I guess he thought he would avoid any headaches if he sold the car
 

shadwell

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He was drink driving a lot at that time, I guess he thought he would avoid any headaches if he sold the car
Though he was arrested for drink driving following a collision on August 5th, so still had access to a vehicle at this point:

 

shadwell

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Images of the East Anglian Daily Times 2013 article print spread (digital version posted by dotr at the top of this thread). The right hand page also includes the claim that the dumping of DJ’s body was seen by a witness who wrote down (but then discarded) the registration number of the vehicle involved. Unfortunately no indication that the witness remembered any other details of the vehicle or the person involved, or was sufficiently curious to investigate for himself what had been dumped.

00697BE4-FC7A-4E83-B868-91EF153E7C3B.jpeg 80ED5B36-5C70-4E62-89B1-B78099F7A9E1.jpeg
 

IslandGirlTC

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I wonder if they tested the instrumentation of the car. Would it show any indication if the car had been in a collision?

He was driving drunk a lot. Even after DJs death so it's definitely a thing with him. A theory could be they were fighting in the car, she gets out and whether he meant to or not, he somehow hits her. Based on the ban on discussing Diane at the hospital, he might have been worried about his reputation. That might explain why he didn't call for help if he did hit her. Hitting her with the hammer could have been done as a cover up as it was suggested above. The forensic reports on her body might show if that's a possibility.
 

shadwell

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I wonder if they tested the instrumentation of the car. Would it show any indication if the car had been in a collision?

Not afaik - this was well before data recorders. The only clue would be unrepaired damage. Looking at the Shutterstock photo of police examining RJ’s silver(?) Peugeot 604 the right hand wing mirror appears deformed and the windscreen trim seems to have unseated on the left hand side - but whether this is just a trick of the light and/or normal wear I couldn’t say for sure. Any damage will (or certainly should) have been noted by police at the time though and explanations as its to cause sought - whether they would have got satisfactory answers is perhaps another matter:


He was driving drunk a lot. Even after DJs death so it's definitely a thing with him. A theory could be they were fighting in the car, she gets out and whether he meant to or not, he somehow hits her. Based on the ban on discussing Diane at the hospital, he might have been worried about his reputation. That might explain why he didn't call for help if he did hit her. Hitting her with the hammer could have been done as a cover up as it was suggested above. The forensic reports on her body might show if that's a possibility.

Yes, it’s a possibility - though again I’ve seen no suggestion of any injury other than to the head which might be consistent with being hit by a car at sufficient speed to cause death (eg broken leg bones).

That said, it does appear this scenario was considered by police at the time, possibly as a result of RJ’s repainting of the gate prior to reporting DJ missing and apparent recent damage to it. There seems to have been some concentration by police on the area around the gate, with samples taken from the driveway. In the event of a direct hammer attack (eg RJ returns from garage with hammer and attacks DJ) it seems unlikely that she would have waited by the gate for it to happen.

As to why he might attempt to conceal DJ’s accidental death - he may have feared being over the drink-drive limit at the time, which (as best I understand it) could have resulted in a charge of causing death by reckless (as it was then termed) driving and up to five years’ prison.
 

shadwell

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On a side note - I wish I’d listened to the Outlines podcasts sooner, as having done so I now realise I’ve been ‘reinventing the wheel’ in a number of my posts. Not generally a fan of true crime podcasts (too much tangential waffle and ‘atmospheric’ music) but these were pretty concise and thorough, with a good amount of useful background info.
 

Pinkizzy

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It was with great interest that I opened the Ipswich edition of the East Anglian Daily Times on Tuesday to see a big article coinciding with the 30 year anniversary of the disappearance of Diane Jones, the doctor’s wife whose body was found at Martlesham in October 1983.
She was found dead in a copse in Brightwell near Martlesham and the article explained that new details had emerged about the night Diane Jones is believed to have been killed.
I was interested to see the article because the case was massive at the time and captured my attention for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it was local, secondly things like this didn’t happen very often and thirdly was the massive media interest that it created in the Martlesham and Martlesham Heath area.
This was 24 years before the Steve Wright murders in Ipswich but it captured the attention of the country’s press in an unprecedented manner.
Stories were rife in national newspapers at the time of the details surrounding the disappearance and the proceeding days and weeks leading up to that disappearance.
The case captured national headlines particularly as the 35 year old woman was reported missing by her husband, Dr Robert Jones, 9 days after last being seen.
The pair lived at Lees Farm, Coggeshall, a small market town on the far side of Colchester.
I remember the afternoon that news of the discovery of the body was announced. It was Monday afternoon of the October half term week in that year when Mrs Jones’ decomposed body was discovered in Brightwell around 3.30pm on October 22nd, having been found by a beater during a pheasant shoot at Sheep Drift Farm. Mrs Jones was identified through dental records two days later.
A large scale hunt for Mrs Jones’ killer involving both Suffolk and Essex police began and incident rooms were set up in both Coggeshall and Suffolk.
House to house enquiries were conducted in Waldringfield, Brightwell, Martlesham, and as far afield as Bucklesham and other villages to the east of Ipswich.
Dr Jones was arrested on November 14th1983, released and no charges were ever brought.
As a then 18-year-old this was long before I started in estate agency in Ipswich but there were several reasons for my personal interest in the case.
At the time I was going out with a girl from Waldringfield whose father worked at BT Research at Martlesham.
Every day for those three months he had cycled along the bridle path within a few feet of where the body was found, a thought which sent shudders through everybody.
Cast your mind back to 1983 and for anyone who has bought a house in the area since may not remember that the Martlesham Heath bypass did not then exist. It was in that section of the A12, by passing Ipswich to the east of the town, which was under construction during that summer and autumn of 1983.
It seems incredible looking back now that if you wanted to travel from Woodbridge to Felixstowe, when there was no Martlesham bypass, you would have had to go along the road that goes through the Martlesham Heath Industrial site and pass our estate agency office in Gloster Road. This road continued past the entrance to BT at Martlesham, carrying on through what is now the lay-by near the Holeshot Cafe (very nice cuppas there by the way) and then proceeding on down the hill past Brightwell Church.
In later years I chatted to my father-in-law’s new partner who actually owned the bungalow at the time when the body was found and naturally she vividly remembers the day of the discovery.
 

Pinkizzy

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The Martlesham Heath bypass and the Coggeshall bypass were under construction during the summer and autumn of 1983. DJ may have had an affair with a roadman/ civil engineer before she was killed and dumped by one.
 

KarenUK

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Completely off topic, but the Holeshot Cafe does an amazing fry-up and looks much nicer on the inside!

Was Diane actually found at that location, I'm struggling to picture how the area as it would have been in 1983
 

shadwell

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Completely off topic, but the Holeshot Cafe does an amazing fry-up and looks much nicer on the inside!

Was Diane actually found at that location, I'm struggling to picture how the area as it would have been in 1983
That’s my best estimate of the location based on available info (visible from BT Martlesham, close to footpath/bridleway) and comparison with the main photo on the EADT page:


ED064168-4125-4A43-8931-69FA03D61E41.jpeg
 

shadwell

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The A14 junction 58 to Martlesham section of the A12 Ipswich Eastern bypass opened in 1984, but construction was ongoing from the opening of the Orwell Bridge and A14 section to Junction 58 in 1982. What’s not clear is whether that part of the old A1093 (on which the cafe now sits) was still open in the summer of 1983 - though a witness passing on the way to/from Woodbridge suggests it probably was. If not, there’s a possibility whoever dumped the body simply ran out of road at that point, discarded the body and turned back.

My other unknown (at the moment) is whether the Junction 58 to Martlesham section opened all at once in 1984, or in sections prior to full completion. One possibility might be that a car travelling East crossed the Orwell Bridge, continued on the A14 to junction 58 before turning left (possibly as a result of the A14 not yet being open beyond that point) onto the new A12 Eastern bypass up to Brightwell roundabout, where he again found the road not yet open and was forced to turn left (back towards Ipswich) or right into the countryside.

In this case, it’s not impossible that the original intention was to dump the body in the sea at (or near) Felixstowe, but diversions resulted in it being dumped at Brightwell, as the driver feared he was approaching a built-up area and the busy A12 construction site at Martlesham. (MOO)

Construction dates:

 
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