Public come forward with information about missing Kettering teenager Sarah Benford

Northamptonshire police launched a media appeal this week on the 20th anniversary of Sarah's disappearance.

Sarah was just 14 and in care when she went missing in 2000.
Sarah was just 14 and in care when she went missing in 2000.

Members of the public have given Northamptonshire police information about Sarah Benford’s disappearance following a media appeal earlier this week.

On the 20th anniversary of the 14-year-old’s last sighting in Kettering, Northamptonshire Police’s cold case team launched a new appeal for information through the media campaign on Monday (April 6) in a bid to get people to come forward with vital clues that could lead to finding Sarah’s body.

Police believe she was murdered but despite a number of arrests over the years and searches of local woodland her body has never been found.

Detective Sergeant Julie Gallagher, who is leading the cold case investigation, today (April 8) said people had come forward with information.

She said: “Since our media appeal at the beginning of the week, a number of people have come forward with information about Sarah’s murder which we are currently working through.

“Thank you to all the members of the public who have contacted us – we really appreciate your help.”

DS Gallagher said on launching the appeal that it would only take one bit of information for a new lead that could help find Sarah. She said despite the case being 20 years old it was still an active investigation and was hoping that those who knew what had happened would finally decide to come forward with the information.

Sarah had been under the care of Northamptonshire County Council’s children’s services at the time of her disappearance in 2000 and had been staying at Welford House in Northampton.

A serious case review concluded in 2004 found the county council’s children’s services department had been understaffed and that Sarah, who had been known to them since she was two, had not been assessed as she should have been.

On the day of her disappearance police refused to collect the runaway teen, who had gone missing from care many times before, from a house in Kettering after a worried call from her mother.

It was not until more than three years after she vanished that a murder investigation was launched in September 2003. Read an in-depth account of the Sarah Benford story by Northants Telegraph reporter Kate Cronin hereAnyone who has any information about Sarah’s disappearance can call Northamptonshire police on 101 and ask to speak with DS Gallagher.