Police reopen unsolved cases after soldier's death

Telegraph today...

Police in Britain and Germany have reopened a murder case and the files on several serious sexual assaults that they believe were committed by David Atkinson, the killer of the student Sally Geeson.

The murder and a series of unsolved sex attacks took place in western Germany, where Atkinson, a soldier, lived for several years.

Police in Cambridge said they were convinced that he was responsible for a serious sex attack, while officers in Watford have said he may have been involved in an abduction.

Atkinson, 31, threw himself to his death from his sixth-floor room in a Glasgow hotel last Saturday.

The man who attacked the woman in Cambridge, the same city where Atkinson murdered Miss Geeson on New Year's Day, drove a Range Rover identical to Atkinson's, spoke with a Scottish accent and told his victim that his name was David and that he was in the Army.

In Germany, the regional crime squad said that the revelations that Atkinson was involved in a number of violent and sexual attacks, including against his own wife and an 18-year-old German woman, opened up "interesting new lines of inquiry" on cases that have remained unsolved for lack of evidence.

Det Supt Gerd Hoppmann said: "Between 1995 and 2001 we have a series of sexual assaults, rapes and a murder with a sexual motive in our files which have never been solved. The information we have received from our British colleagues in the last couple of days concerning David Atkinson is of great interest to us, and has prompted us to reopen a number of investigations with immediate effect."

Atkinson was married to a German for six years until 2001 and served at bases in Germany. He lived for a time in the town of Krefeld, near Düsseldorf, where he and his wife Liane were married.

Detectives at the crime squad are particularly focusing their attention on the murder six years ago of a prostitute.

The woman, known only as Jacqueline, was found strangled in her flat on the edge of the town centre on the evening of April 3, 1998.

"It appeared that a man broke into her apartment and raped her before throttling her with a metal implement until she could no longer breathe," said Mr Hoppmann.

"There were clues as to the attacker's identity in her jacket pocket, but he was never tracked down.

"Given Mr Atkinson's history, it would be negligent if we did not reopen our lines of inquiry."

Police in Watford said Atkinson may have been involved in an abduction and assault in 2002 and that his name had been given to them by the Army at the time.

"The speed with which the Army supplied us with his name showed that they had grave doubts about him," a Hertfordshire detective said.

Atkinson served eight months in a military prison in 1997 after being convicted of abducting an 18-year-old Polish girl while serving in Germany.

His ex-wife also made complaints about assaults on her but withdrew them later.

The Army has been criticised for allowing Atkinson, who was based at Waterbeach Barracks just outside Cambridge when he murdered Miss Geeson, to remain in the service following his conviction.

Ian Stephen, a consultant forensic psychologist, believes that it was almost inevitable that Atkinson would have carried out other attacks in his past.

"It would be unusual for him not to have been involved in other incidents over the years," he said.

"I would suspect there was a risk, wherever he was placed, of similar patterns of behaviour."


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