THE keys to solving the murder of Karen Reed on her doorstep in Woking 27 years ago lie in the people and streets around the Barnsbury Estate where the shooting took place, detectives believe.

Detective Inspector Gareth Hicks, the deputy senior investigating officer, said too much attention has been paid to whether or not Karen was the intended victim of a suspected contract killer on 30 April 1994.

Karen, 33, was shot five times after opening her door in Willow Way at 9.15pm to a man holding a pizza box.

“The important thing is that there is the loss of an innocent woman. The fact that the target was probably Karen’s sister has very little relevance to the person who did the killing,” said DI Hicks of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crimes Team.

A renewed appeal for information was made recently as Operation Lilac and featured on Crimewatch Live. Police believe the intended target was Karen’s sister Alison, whose husband Gagic Ter-Ogrannsyan, an Armenian, was given a double life sentence for the murder of the former Chechen premier and his brother in London.

Alison had recently moved to live in Karen’s house.

Fifteen days before the murder, police followed a red Vauxhall Cavalier being driven suspiciously. After the driver stopped and ran away, officers examined the car and found an automatic pistol fitted with a silencer, a marked map of the Barnsbury Estate, a large commando knife in a leather sheath, a black Delsey bag and a rare Olney blue tartan cap. 

DI Hicks said: “It was clear to the officers who gave chase to the red Cavalier that the driver didn’t know where he was going.

“The estate is a bit of a swine to get off. When they ran off, they didn’t go in the obvious direction.”

Police have said the driver ran off onto open land.

“There was a comprehensive house-to-house inquiry and people might have information that they thought was not important. The keys to solving this case could be something that is seemingly inconsequential,” DI Hicks said. “Was someone flagged down by a pedestrian? Was there a second car?”

DI Hicks said new information is being sought now because people who didn’t feel it was safe to come forward may feel safer now because of the passage of time.

“Relationships change and people may be willing to speak,” he said.

He also pointed out that Karen would have been 60 this year.

DI Hicks said: “The other reason we are picking this up is because people might no longer be around in a few years.

“The focus should be on Karen. She was completely innocent, a normal person who was just having a night in.”

Anyone with information that could help the investigation is asked to contact the Operation Lilac team on 01483 639969. Alternatively, officers can be contacted via webchat on the website or by calling 101.

Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous can call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

For more on this story, get the 8 April edition of the Woking News & Mail, in shops today