08:00 Monday 24 February 2014

Burton woman's absence from mum's 60th birthday sparked murder probe

Written byROB SMYTH

THE man leading the murder probe following the disappearance of a Burton woman has revealed that the alarm was first raised after she missed her mother’s milestone 60th birthday.

Detective Inspector Warren Hines made the admission as he sought to reignite the appeal to help find out what exactly happened to Lisa Bennett, of Winshill, before she died.

The top cop revealed in an exclusive interview with the Mail that the 39 year old’s absence from her mother Janet’s landmark occasion was the main reason that prompted fears to be raised that something had gone tragically wrong.

He said: “Lisa was a troubled individual who suffered with drug addictions and alcohol dependences throughout her life. But she had a decent side to her as well.

“One of the newest developments is that this was not something that Lisa did regularly. She did not just up and disappear. She would always be in touch with her mum, other family members of friends to let them know what she was doing.

“This was a key trigger for people to know that something was seriously wrong with her.

“It was her mum’s 60th birthday last year, a big event and something that her family admit she would not have missed in a million years.

“However, she did not turn up, did not text, call or do anything and this was when alarm bells started to ring.”

Lisa Bennett left the flat she shared with her boyfriend in Selly Oak, Birmingham, on May 9 last year and has not been seen since she visited a nearby Lloyds chemist just hours later.

Despite extensive police searches from the time she went missing, along with statements taken from Lisa’s family, friends, neighbours and local businesses, the 39-year-old has never been found.

Officers were called in after her mum Janet, who lives in Burton, contacted West Midlands Police two weeks later, worried that she had not been in contact with her.

Det Insp Hines added: “There is still so much we did not know about Lisa, particularly about her time and history in the Burton area.

“She had many friends and family there, returned regularly and it was a major part of her life.

“This is why I keep impressing on people the need to get in touch with us about anything, no matter small.

“It could be a throwaway comment or something you thought means nothing, it could mean the difference between bringing Lisa’s family some resolution and not.

“We are determined to do this and just want to find out what happened, I think that her family are not bothered about someone being arrested but more so about getting some closure.”

A 33-year-old man was arrested and bailed in connection with her murder following a public appeal for information by Lisa’s mother and her sister Lindsey.

West Midlands Police have since revealed that they have interviewed another male as part of its investigations but no charges were brought against the individual.

Lisa is white, around 5ft 8ins tall with short dark brown or blonde hair and has a tattoo of a flower on the back of her neck.

Anyone with information can call detectives on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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