BILLIE-JO JENKINS was brutally bludgeoned to death in one of the UK’s most high-profile unsolved murders in 1997.
But who was she, and what happened?
Who was Billie-Jo Jenkins?
Billie-Jo Margaret Jenkins was a schoolgirl who was beaten to death at her home in Hastings, East Sussex, in February 1997.
She was born on March 29, 1983, in East London.
When she was nine years old, her biological father was imprisoned, and she was placed in foster care with Siôn and Lois Jenkins coincidentally had the same last name and four daughters of their own.
Billie-Jo spent five years with the family in their home in Hastings, on the East Sussex coast, and was described as “fun-loving”, with dreams of becoming an actor.
On February 15, 1997, 13-year-old Billie-Jo was found in the back garden of the family home, bludgeoned to death with an iron tent peg.
What happened to her?
On that fateful afternoon on February 15 1997, 13-year-old foster child Billie-Jo was painting the patio doors at the back of the house when she was struck at least five times on the head in a shocking attack.
She was reportedly alone at the time, with the rest of her family out of the property.
When foster dad Siôn returned to the house following a trip to a DIY store with his two oldest daughters, he found Billie-Jo dying, in a pool of blood.
Police initially asked Siôn to make a public appeal for any information, but shortly after he became the main suspect.
He was arrested nine days later on suspicion of murder, and was charged with murder on March 14, 1997.
Siôn – father to Annie, 12 at the time of the murder, Lottie, 10, Esther, nine and Maya, seven – has always maintained his innocence and claims a prowler could have been responsible for the murder.
During the investigation, police discovered 148 tiny spots of Billie-Jo’s blood on Siôn’s trousers and fleece jacket.
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The prosecution argued that their size and distribution were consistent with “impact spatter”, sprayed during the frenzied attack on Billie-Jo.
But the defense argued that a fine spray of blood was breathed out by Billie-Jo on her foster dad when he went to her aid as she lay dying.
Siôn spent six years in jail following his sentence.
In the two retrials following, the jury was unable to reach a verdict, and Siôn was formally acquitted in 2006.
Sussex Police have since maintained that there are no plans to re-open the murder investigation.
In January 2022, the BBC reported that Sussex Police were doing a forensic review of material linked to the case.
In a statement, the force said each unsolved murder is “assessed two-yearly to examine any new information that may have become available.”
It said: “Currently, no new information has been provided in this case and it is not being re-investigated.”
It added: “We are currently carrying out a forensic review of material held on the case in order to establish whether or not scientific advances can provide new evidence or lines of inquiry.”
It was reported that the police were continuing to appeal for information that could help the inquiry.
When is Who Killed Billie-Jo? on Channel 5?
A documentary about the murder, called Who Killed Billie-Jo? originally aired on February 10, 2022.
Retired detective Jeremy Paine, who worked on the original investigation into her death appears in the Channel 5 programme.
He told the Mirror in February 2022: “This was a tragic and brutal act of violence.
“Billie-Jo had her whole life in front of her.”
Paine said he still hopes that developments in forensic technologies will one day solve the mystery.
The documentary – which looks at what happened on the day of the murder – is two hours long.
It’s available to stream on My5.