ON the last day of our series of articles about Durham Police's only unsolved murder for more than 60 years, we publish a letter to the police from the only man who has been accused of Ann Heron's murder, her husband, Peter.

DEAR Mike Barton, Chief Constable of Durham Police and the Crown Prosecution Service,

In 2005, Durham Constabulary seemed determined to prosecute me, an innocent man, and send me to prison for the rest of my life. That would have allowed the real perpetrator of the crime to live among us.

A look at the facts shows there was no evidence against me. In fact the case against me in 2005 collapsed within weeks. However I believe that important evidence that could have helped catch the real killer was ignored so that I could be prosecuted.

Here are the facts with questions I want answered - along with a public apology.

DNA evidence:

Why was the discovery of some of my DNA - so tiny that it needed 15 years to ‘grow’ in laboratory conditions before it could be tested, found in my own home and on the body of my own wife - the basis of my arrest? Why was other important evidence discounted from that point?

Driver of the blue car:

Two independent witnesses reported that they had seen a blue car being driven down the drive of my home, Aeolian House, at very high speed, which failed to stop at the road and pulled straight out in front of them heading in the direction of Darlington. The car was seen at about 5pm - the estimated time of Ann’s death. Both witnesses described the driver as dark haired, suntanned and in his early 30s. This information was vital to the investigation. And yet the search ended when the DNA evidence was discovered. This man has been forgotten or deliberately ignored. Why?

Why, given the extremely accurate description of two independent witnesses in two different vehicles, was a police identikit picture of the man never produced?

Was the information regarding the sighting of the blue car and driver included in your submission to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) when seeking authority to charge me? If not, why not?

Case collapse and insufficient evidence:

During my interrogation in 2005 and presumably as part of the prosecution case against me, the police insisted that I could not account for a full two hours of my day on August 3, 1990, the day of Ann’s murder.

That is wrong. I had lunch with Ann at 1pm and returned to the office at 2pm. At about 3pm I received a telephone call from a client, Cleveland Bridge, who asked me to attend his office to discuss a contract my company was tendering for. As requested by him, I left the office shortly after 3pm and made the short journey to Cleveland Bridge and was in front of the client and two of his colleagues by about 3.15pm. I left the meeting at about 4.30pm and returned to the office via Croft and through Middleton St George village arriving back in the office at 5pm, returning home at 6pm to find Ann dead on our living room floor. Each and every step of my movements as I’ve described are corroborated by witness statements in Durham Constabulary’s own prosecution bundle of ‘evidence’ presented to my solicitor.

I remain curious, to say the least, as to how and why you could possibly deduce that I can not account for two hours?

Police focused on a single statement by a former employee of mine who reported that he saw me driving my white Mercedes car erratically at high speed around a roundabout at 3.15pm. This alleged sighting was at the exact same time that I was sat in front of three members of Cleveland Bridge, whose completed statements testify to this fact.

I can only assume that the statement by my former driver better suited Durham Constabulary’s theory that I had killed my wife?

Detailed forensic reports of the crime were made in 1990 by professionals in the field of forensic science at the time. They had actually visited the crime scene and had seen everything for themselves at first hand. The forensic scientists who reported in 2005 (at the time of my arrest) did not have this luxury but despite this their reports were different in certain areas to the original reports with a bias against me. Can you explain that? Why were the original reports not used? The same is true of some of the police officers who made statements in both 1990 and 2005. Why?

Within weeks of my arrest, the case against me collapsed. Neither my solicitor, nor myself, were informed that the case had been discontinued. It was only when the Northern Echo called at my daughter’s house that we found out.

How can you justify not telling me before issuing a press release?

I wanted the chance to prove my innocence in court but was advised that the police had left it so late to discontinue, this could not happen.

Was this deliberate to save the Force embarrassment?

Police mistakes:

Why won’t Durham Constabulary publicly admit that mistakes were made at the crime scene? Mistakes such as the actions of the first police officer on the scene who moved Ann’s body, the ambulance men who also moved Ann’s body and the removal of Ann’s body that day from the house and release of her body for cremation three months after her death.

Re-interviewing of witnesses:

Upon my arrest in 2005, police officers were dispatched to re-interview witnesses from the original 1990 enquiry.

Why were some of those witnesses challenged on the timings they stated in their original 1990 statements and invited to reconsider and change them?

Why were Freda’s family in Scotland where I had been living never interviewed in 2005?

One highly respected local businessman, an associate, refused to sign his statement and, as he revealed on the BBC’s Inside Out programme, was so perturbed that he immediately summoned his solicitor to his office, refusing point blank to sign it until it was amended to reflect the actual discussion that had taken place.

How do you justify the statement your officers put before him?

I will leave the reader to decide whether or not Durham Constabulary came close to perverting the course of justice. I know that I have my own personal views.

On this 25th anniversary, I am going public myself for the first time to highlight exactly what I and my family have been through. Needless to say, my whole world collapsed not once, but twice, firstly when I found Ann dead in our home and then again in 2005 when I was arrested. My good name was absolutely destroyed and my character assassinated for the rest of my life.

I repeat my key questions:

We constantly hear about new developments and progress in the field of police investigations and forensic science so why, despite all the information and technology available, is the person who killed my wife still at large?

Why, after 15 years, did Durham Constabulary feel it necessary to approach some of their own prosecution witnesses and invite them to revisit the timings from their original 1990 statements?

Was the information regarding the sighting of the blue car and it’s driver presented to the Crown Prosecution Service in 2005 or was it omitted?

When will I receive a public apology?

Yours, Peter Heron