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Minutes of the 377th meeting held at 10:00 in Stokesley Town Hall on Tuesday 18th June 2019

Speaker Mark Braithwaite: A Notorious Teesside Murder.

Mark is a retired policeman. He started with West Yorkshire in 1978 and joined Cleveland Police in 1983. He rose to the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent and was Head of Serious Crime. He retired after 32 years in the police force. He is now Independent Chair to Middlesbrough Local Safeguarding Children Board and Safeguarding Advisor to the Methodist Church across the North East of England.

Mark explained that the murder was of Julie Elizabeth Hogg of Billingham in 1989. He had the permission of her family to give the talk and was giving the talk free of charge.

In November 1989 Julie went missing. Various people reported sightings of Julie in various locations and the police began a missing person investigation. Julie was estranged from her husband and had a little 3-year-old boy named Kevin. A forensic team spent 3 to 4 days searching the house were Julie lived searching for clues to were she might be but found nothing.

The house was left empty until after Christmas when her estranged husband moved back in. Because it was still winter he switched on the central heating which had been off since Julie disappeared. A terrible smell began to fill the house and when the mother of Julie visited she recognised the smell and a search of the house was carried out. Her mother found the body of Julie behind the bath panel.

A murder investigation was started. Cleveland police had to explain that when they had searched the house for 3 to 4 days they were not looking for a body but clues to a missing persons whereabouts.

Mark worked in the murder investigation room collating evidence. A suspect Billy Dunlop was brought to trial foe murder in 1991. He was known to Julie and the police and had a record for violence and a reason to harm Julie.

The trial was held in Moot Hall in Newcastle, the judge was Justice Thomas. It lasted for 3 weeks and the jury retired for 3 days but were unable to reach a verdict. A retrial was ordered.

The 2nd trial was in October 1991 with a new judge and jury. The defence used different tactics in this 2nd trial concentrating on the fact that the decomposed body prevented a true statement of the cause of the death. Again the jury could not agree a verdict and the judge ruled that it would be unfair to have a 3rd trial and Billy Dunlop was acquitted and released.

Ann Ming the mother of Julie then started a campaign to get the law of double jeopardy reversed.

Billy Dunlop as imprisoned for 6 years for GBH on two people. In prison he bragged how he had got away with the murder of Julie. A female prison officer was used with surveillance equipment to secure a confession from him. He was charged with perjury.

In the Royal Courts of Justice after a review of the law and a very strong campaign by Ann Ming the double jeopardy law was revoked.

At the Old Bailey Dunlop pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life with minimum of 17 years. He has been in prison ever since and Ann Ming has stated that she does not want him released until after her death.