Bert in the clear after police review 40-year-old murder case

Bert Spencer is to face no further questioning by police about the murder of Staffordshire newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater in 1978.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG030716-159TW.
Bert Spencer is to face no further questioning by police about the murder of Staffordshire newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater in 1978. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG030716-159TW.
  • Retired ambulanceman living in south Lincolnshire not to face police questioning about 1978 murder of Carl Bridgewater

A retired ambulanceman now living in south Lincolnshire has slammed the “needless persecution” he has suffered in connection with a teenager’s unsolved murder.

Bert Spencer was the subject of Channel Four documentary, Interview with a Murderer, shown last June which claimed to have fresh evidence about the shotgun killing of Carl Bridgewater (13) in September 1978.

Like so many others, I also support and feel sorry for the Bridgewater family but I have never had any reason to apologise to them

Bert Spencer

The newspaper boy Carl died after reportedly disturbing a burglary at a Staffordshire farm 16 months before Spencer shot dead farmer Hubert Wilkes (70) in a drink-fuelled rage at another farm less than a mile away.

Spencer has always denied any involvement in Carl’s murder and in a statement released on Tuesday, Staffordshire Police confirmed that detectives would not be interviewing him “at this time”.

In a statement, Spencer, who spent 15 years in jail after killing Mr Wilkes, said: “I have suffered needless persecution for over 35 years as a result of mindless news media editors and some journalists who were quite dogmatic in the adverse views and/or opinions they held.

“I hope now that this latest police report will go some way to alter the opinions of those people and cause them to apply common sense to any future coverage of this matter.

“Like so many others, I also support and feel sorry for the Bridgewater family but I have never had any reason to apologise to them.”

The statement from Staffordshire Police read: “Following the Channel 4 documentary, Interview with a Murderer, we have carried out a thorough and detailed review of the Carl Bridgewater case, including revisiting forensic evidence.

“The documentary raised a number of issues which, the programme suggested, linked Bert Spencer to the murder of Carl Bridgewater in 1978.

“Having reviewed the programme alongside the previous investigations and review material, only one new witness has been identified.

“This person has been interviewed by detectives and cannot offer anything to progress or assist this investigation.

“Having additionally reviewed this information and the forensic evidence available, we can confirm there are no new investigative opportunities and, as such, no new suspects. Therefore, there are no grounds to interview Hubert Spencer at this time.”

The Lincolnshire Free Press invited Channel Four to comment on the statement from Staffordshire Police, but it declined.