Mystery of tragic teen whose skull was found 4 years before eerily similar death

In June 1989, Tina Bell headed out to meet friends, after promising her little brother she'd return home to camp out in the garden.

But her family would never see her again. And after 10 months of frantic searching, their worst fears became a horrific reality.

Tina's skull, shoulder blade and collarbone were discovered by two youths shooting pigeons on wasteland near ICI industrial works. The sadistic killer, and the rest of her remains, have never been found.

Several theories were made about what happened to her – from her body being dissolved in a chemical bath to her being horrifically dismembered. But no definitive answer has ever been released.

Convicted murderer among last to see Tina alive

Just five months after Tina went missing, local thug Billy Dunlop – one of the last men to have seen her alive – murdered 22-year-old Julie Hogg, also from the Teesside town of Billingham.

In 2006, Dunlop was convicted of murdering Julie and he remains in prison. A parole decision is pending.

Dunlop's pal, Vince Robson, was also with Tina on the night she disappeared. The three of them were seen in the communal kitchen of a flat above a fruit shop in the town's Mill Lane.

Both Robson and Dunlop were spoken to by cops but there was little forensic evidence and CCTV to assist detectives in finding Tina's killer.

Teen was murdered and dumped in canal

In 1990, Robson moved to Hebden Bridge, near Halifax, and became involved with the Trades Club there working as a sound engineer.

Four years later, 13-year-old local schoolgirl Lindsay Rimer disappeared. She had left the Trades Club, bought some cereal from the corner shop and set off home.

Around five months later her body was found in the Rochdale Canal, weighed down with a concrete boulder.

Detective's 'blood ran cold'

Retired detective John Matthews worked on Tina's case in the early 1990s.

The former Cleveland Police officer said when he heard details of the murder probe into Lindsay's death, it made his "blood run cold".

He insists the "links" between Robson and both murders were compelling to the point that he should have been considered the prime suspect in the investigation into Lindsay’s death.

And it rankles with him every TIME the unsolved case comes up, he said.

"Particularly when a second ‘bite at the cherry’ is not properly investigated," he told the Daily Star.

At the time of Tina's disappearance, John said there was no forensic evidence for them to work with. In those days, in many cases, the only way to secure a conviction was through a "cough" – a confession, he said.

Robson and Dunlop were spoken to, he said. But little information was forthcoming.

"Vince Robson said she had left on her own and Billy Dunlop had followed her out, alluding to – it must have been Billy," John previously told Teesside Live.

"When we spoke to Billy Dunlop he more or less said you want to have a word with Vince Robson about that."

John came to understand that Robson, who died in 2005 aged 52, had involved himself with both the Bell and Rimer families.

Regarding Robson, he said: "He was the unluckiest man on the planet.

"He befriends both families, then something happens to their daughters in almost exactly the same way and their bodies are hidden.

"These two things are alone too massive to be coincidences.

"He was with Billy Dunlop late at night in that communal kitchen with Tina.

"Vince Robson and a known murderer in his company with Tina on the night she goes missing."

Ongoing fight for justice

On the day Tina disappeared, she had promised her little brother John that she come back later that night and join him camping in their back garden.

But she never returned for their camping adventure.

Ten years after Tina's death, in an emotional and moving appeal, her parents Bob and Cath said they lay “like planks of wood” next to each other in bed – unable to sleep and knowing exactly what the other was thinking.

They have both since died, tragically never knowing who killed their girl.

Her sister Angela Wade fears the person who killed Tina will never be brought to justice but continues to appeal for help in solving the case.

Speaking previously to Teesside Live, she said: "Sometimes I can have a laugh remembering the good times with her but then other times it's like I'm being hit with a brick.

"What upsets me the most is we don't have justice."

Body found in Rochdale Canal

Lindsay left her home in Cambridge Street at around 10pm on November 7, 1994, and was captured on CCTV at the Spar supermarket buying cornflakes at 10.22pm. Officers know she visited the Trades Club in Holme Street on her way to the shop.

Her body was later recovered from the Rochdale Canal, about one mile upstream from Hebden Bridge town centre.

Both forces have said the cases remain open, and any new information would be investigated.

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