Man accused over unsolved murder of millionaire’s daughter found bound and gagged in lake


Donald Robertson told a District Judge he could not attend the hearing over a live video link from custody, as he was in isolation due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the prison where he was being held before the hearing

Donald Robertson is accused of the murder, false imprisonment and indecent assault of 26-year-old Shani in April 1987
Donald Robertson is accused of the murder, false imprisonment and indecent assault of 26-year-old Shani in April 1987

A pensioner has been accused of murdering “Lady in the Lake” Shani Warren more than 30 years ago.

Donald Robertson failed to appear in court for his first remand hearing today, telling a District Judge he could not attend the hearing over a live video link from custody, as he was in isolation due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the prison where he was being held.

District Judge Arvind Sharma, sitting at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court, heard that the 66-year-old is accused of the murder, false imprisonment and indecent assault of 26-year-old Shani in April 1987.

He is also accused of the false imprisonment and rape of a 16-year-old girl from Slough, Berks., in July 1981.

The pensioner was alleged to have murdered Shani after she disappeared from her home in Stoke Poges, Bucks., only moments after she had finished mowing the lawn at the house her millionaire parents had brought her.

Shani Warren’s body was found in a lake in Taplow, Bucks
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Image:

HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

She had set off in her car to dispose of the grass cuttings at the compost heap at her parents’ home in Gerrards Cross, Bucks but Shani never returned to the house she shared with two flatmates.

Her body was found in a lake in Taplow, Bucks., by Marjorie Arnold who was out walking her dog.

The German Shepherd showed an unusual interest in something in the lake and when Mrs Arnold investigated, she stumbled across Shani’s bound and gagged body lying face-down in the water.

Before her body was discovered, a lorry driver saw her car parked in a lay-by on the nearby A4, where he planned to park up for the night.

Despite the publicity, no-one was ever apprehended for her murder
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HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

The car had been left unlocked, with one door slightly open, and some of Shani’s personal belongings were found in the undergrowth near the vehicle, according to a reconstruction on BBC TV series Crimewatch.

Despite the publicity, no-one was ever apprehended for her murder and the coroner at the time recorded an open verdict, in the absence of any firm evidence of Shani’s fate.

For the first three days after Shani’s body was found police treated her death as a suicide.

It was only after a full-scale post mortem examination that a murder hunt was launched – wasting three valuable days of investigation.

At the time of Robertson’s arrest, Shani’s family revealed that both her parents had died during the Covid-19 pandemic, never knowing who had killed their daughter.

For the first three days after Shani’s body was found police treated her death as a suicide.
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Image:

HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

Shani’s aunt, Mavis Caney, of Reading, Berks., said: “My sister and her husband are now dead, they died this year. I think for her two sons when you keep getting things re-surfacing it’s very difficult.

“There were a lot of issues at the time about how the police handled the case which was very unsatisfactory and they did apologise.”

Robertson, formerly of Slough, Berks., was remanded in custody and will appear at Reading Crown Court on Monday. No application for bail was made by his defence lawyer.




www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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