A FORMER Sussex Police boss says he is “100 per cent sure” he knows who the killers are in cases that remain unsolved.

Kevin Moore was a Sussex Police detective for 24 years and head of the force’s criminal investigation department between 2006 and 2009.

The senior detective has spoken candidly to The Argus about a series of unsolved murders from his time in the force.

He described the problems which faced – and still face – officers when trying to put killers behind bars as The Argus reveals 37 murders remain unsolved in the country.

“I can rattle most of them off from the top of my head,” Mr Moore said. “Certainly all of the ones happening while I was serving.”

Now retired, the ex Chief Superintendent has now revealed that he has “no doubt” who the killers are in certain “unsolved” cases.

Mr Moore said: “It is frustrating, dare I say, very frustrating.

“But you can only do as much as you can do.

“There’s numerous cases where there’s no doubt they were the right people, but sadly, there is insufficient evidence to prosecute or convict.

“It’s frustrating when you’re 100 per cent sure you know who did it but can’t find that vital piece of evidence.”

In the early 2000s, Sussex Police led the way nationally by compiling every unsolved case in the county going back to the 1940s into a case file.

Each case had a closing report attached to it.

Mr Moore said: “Someone who picks the case up again after five years will know what the circumstances surrounding the case are.

“Obviously, we had problems because of the storage of exhibits and paperwork.”

In a pre-computer age, key evidence and paperwork was more likely to deteriorate beyond repair or go missing.

Keith Lyon was a 12-year-old boy stabbed to death on the Sussex Downs.

Mr Moore said: “The schoolboy was murdered on a piece of wasteland in Woodingdean and Ovingdean 1967.

“We found the paperwork and the knife behind a stud wall in a police station, so we had to go back over all of those.

“It would be fair to say the way things were handled were not as good as they are now.”

He said in a number of the unsolved cases police have investigated possible links to serial killer Peter Tobin, who had lived in properties in Brighton.

Mr Moore recalls back to when Tobin’s grizzly crimes were finally unearthed.

He said: “The Tobin case started evolving when a body of a woman was found in Scotland – it then started to escalate when two bodies were found in Margate.

“Tobin had a connection with Brighton and lived in several places in the city, he was even married to a woman from Brighton.

“Then, nationally, there was an operation called Operation Anagram where other outstanding cases were looked at to see if they could be linked to Tobin.

“One case that is always floating about is Jessie Earl, but there was no evidence of this and to this day, there is no idea how she died.

“At one point, he was also linked to a girl who went missing called Louise Kay.”

One of the biggest challenges facing the force when solving murders is “criminal on criminal” crime.

Jimmy Millen was shot by a gunman on a black motorbike as he worked on his car in 2001.

Mr Moore said: “This was undoubtedly a contract killing, the chances of clearing that up in the first instance are slim.

“Therefore it’s unlikely that you are ever going to get a person who committed the murder – you’ll have some good suspicions on who might be behind it – but didn’t do it themselves.”

Mr Moore has sometimes seen convictions dramatically overturned. Katrina Taylor was stabbed to death in the graveyard of St Nicholas Church in Dyke Road, Brighton, in July 1996.

Two men were convicted in 1997, but were later cleared in a retrial.

Billie-Jo Jenkins was killed with an iron tent peg in 1997. Her foster father was convicted of the killing the next year but was declared not guilty after the jury in a second retrial failed to reach a verdict.

Both cases remain unresolved.

Mr Moore said: “You’ve got a situation where people have been tried – and maybe found guilty – and on appeal that verdict has been overturned.

“In these cases all of the evidence pointed to one person and so they have been subject to a trial.”

The files, which were put together in the early 2000s, are occasionally pulled out to be re-examined should new lines of enquiries open up.

Mr Moore said: “You have to see whether the case is worth pursuing, are any of the people still alive? Is the suspect actually likely to be alive today?

“What’s the point in looking at it if the key witnesses or key suspect are dead? You have to look at the cost of these things.

“A number of things can change over the years. The ability of forensic evidence. The change of loyalty within criminals – if it’s information or evidence known to a person, that person’s loyalties may change.”

Mr Moore pointed to Anthony Scrase, who is now serving two life sentences for murdering a woman and her daughter in a house fire in Eastbourne in 2003.

He said: “The case had been closed down but the woman friend of the main suspect changed loyalty and said she could get him to admit it when she visited him in prison.

“So adhering to all the proper rules, we had her wired up.”

Changes in technology means some cases are solved decades after the crime.

Perhaps the most notable, the Babes in the Woods killings, were solved almost 30 years to the day after killer Russell Bishop was originally acquitted.

Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, both nine, were murdered in Moulsecoomb on October 9, 1986. Bishop was convicted thanks, in part, to DNA found on a jumper.

Speaking about the murders that remained unsolved, Mr Moore said:

“The file may be looked at by someone with a fresh pair of eyes to check if there is anything to be pursued that hasn’t been pursued.

“But the situation is quite clear, you can’t detect the undetectable, you’ve taken it as far as you can.

“While this is frustrating for families and victims, it is one of those things.”

When asked if he felt less evidence should be required to find someone guilty of murder, he replied: “Not at all, the simple reason is I’ve always accepted as a police officer that whatever the case, it needs to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “All unresolved cases, both undetected and acquittals, are subject of full reviews. If there is no further action which can be taken at that time the case is deferred.

“Unresolved cases on the deferred list can be reviewed at any time if new information emerges however, in the absence of fresh information, they are assessed every two years to establish if there are any potential new lines of enquiry or whether forensic advances warrant a forensic review.”

l The retired CID’s book Real Murder Investigations – An Insider’s View is available for £9.99 in shops and on Amazon. Proceeds from the book, which looks over the last 40 years of murder investigations, will go to the police charity Care of Police Survivors.