Police hope Facebook will help with manslaughter investigation

Police are using Facebook to help with the manslaughter investigation
Police are using Facebook to help with the manslaughter investigation

Police leading a manslaughter probe into the death of a 32-year-old woman who died in a car crash after her tyres were deliberately sabotaged by vandals have taken to Facebook to catch those responsible.

Joanna Smith, formerly of Wilkes Walk in Grange Park, Northampton, was killed when the car spun out of control at 70mph on the A45 near Earls Barton as she drove to work at a chemists in Irchester.

Police have revealed the cause of the crash was tyre failure, but said they were now certain one of her tyres had been deliberately punctured.

Detectives believe her car could have been vandalised while it was parked close to the Budgens car park, near her home, over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

They have now taken to the social networking site Facebook in the hope of targeting people who may hold the key to cracking the case.

By taking out advertising on Facebook, police have managed to reach more than 41,000 people in Northampton aged between 13 and 50, at a cost of just £35.

A police spokesman said: “As a force we use various channels to reach the public. In those cases where we want to reach a specific group of people, we will target our communications at the channels those people are most likely to engage with.

“Officers investigating the manslaughter of Joanna Smith believe that young people living in the Grange Park area may have information about who was involved in damaging the tyre on her car, and so we have placed an advert on Facebook.

“When people click onto the advert it will take them through to the press release on our website, appealing for information from witnesses.

“The advert has reached 41,339 people in Northampton, aged between 13 and 50, and has so far cost the force £35. The force is charged a fee every time someone clicks onto the advert and a maximum budget of £350 has been set aside for it.

“The force has used adverts on Facebook only a handful of times and this is the first time we have used it as part of an appeal for witnesses. However, officers believe that the seriousness of the case involving Joanna’s death justifies the force using every means available in appealing for witnesses to come forward.”

Click here to read the emotional interview with Joanna’s husband John