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Vera Holland: Unsolved Murder (1996)

On the 14th of November 1996, Vera Holland (47) was reported missing by her husband Brian (41) after she didn't return home (in Reading) as expected. Vera had left to make a 3-minute trip to the local KFC on Shinfield Road, yet she didn't return and the call to the police was made at 10:45 pm. At the time of Vera's disappearance according to her husband she was wearing a pink coat, green tartan skirt, black jumper, and black shoes. CCTV camera footage did not show Vera arriving at the KFC, indicating that whatever happened to her happened within just a few minutes of leaving her house.

Just two days later at 05:30am on the 16h of November a called was made to fire service by a motorist who had seen a blaze by the side of the road. The area was an illegal tipping site at Two Bridges, just 3 miles from Vera's home. Once the fire had been distinguished it was discovered that Vera's remains had been set on fire, covered in a beige carpet on a pile of rubbish, logs, and tyres. Traces of her blood would be found on the carpet and she was only partially dressed in her undergarments - a suspender belt and her petticoat.

A post-mortem would reveal that Vera had died of strangulation and that there was bruising on her face, yet there was no sign of sexual assault. The other items of clothing which Vera had been wearing at the time of her disappearance were found in the burning pile.

One big piece of evidence at the scene was the carpet which Vera’s body was found in. It was a section of bedroom quality carpet measuring 9ft 4in by 8ft 2in square and was fawn coloured / beige. It had two furniture-sized indentations on one side – possibly from matching pieces of bedroom furniture - and two radiator pipe holes on the opposite side. Soil and weeds growing on the carpet led police to believe that it had been stored outside before. Police believed that Vera’s body had been left inside the carpet for more than a day before it was taken to the fly-tip – they believed she was killed and then placed in the carpet until Friday evening. Witnesses stated that Vera’s body was not at the site before 4pm on Friday 15 November.


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