On Sunday the 21st of November 1993, Karen Hales (21) was stabbed and an attempt was made to set her on fire in her home in Ipswich. Karen had lived with her partner (Peter Ruffles) and 19-month-old daughter at their home on Lavenham Road.
On the day she was murdered there was at least two inches of snow on the ground and although it was not exceptionally cold, there were few people on the streets. Darkness fell that day around 4 pm and Karen and her daughter were alone in the house, her partner had left for work at 3 pm.
Shortly before 4.40 pm Karen’s parents called at the house and entered through the unlocked front door. They were confronted with smoke and flames within the house and found that Karen had been stabbed and an attempt made to set her alight.
With no sign of forced entry, police believed Karen opened her door and was, therefore, likely to have known her killer. No footprints were left in the snow leaving the back of the property. Two kitchen knives were missing from the house, but have never been found. Nor has Karen’s purse, which contained a small amount.