POLICE are heralding positive results after a three-year-old murder hunt went back to the scene of the crime.
Housewife Julia Webb, 52, was battered to death on the afternoon of July 22 1998, while walking her pet labrador Rosie just yards from her home.
Her body was discovered in woodland off Kennel Lane, Sandiway, by her son Christopher. She had been bludgeoned several times in the head and strangled.
Despite an extensive murder investigation, detectives have so far been unable to trace the killer.
But on the third anniversary of Mrs Webb's death, a renewed appeal has uncovered several fresh lines of inquiry.
Detectives launched a three-pronged approach on Wednesday, conducting door-to-door inquiries in Dalefords Lane, leafleting more than 4,000 passing motorists on the A556 Chester Road near the junction of Kennel Lane, and canvassing visitors to Blakemere Craft Centre and shops in Mere Lane, all in the hope of triggering some vital clue.
They were particularly keen to trace three people seen in the area on the afternoon of the murder a young man who ran out in front of a car in Dalefords Lane, a man seen carrying a distinctive walking stick, and a man driving a Ford Orion along Kennel Lane.
The detective leading the hunt, Chief Inspector Peter Rigby, said: 'It went very well. We have received more than 20 telephone calls and pieces of information from members of the public.
'A number of people put forward information as to the man with the walking stick and also the man who ran across Dalefords Lane, which we are following up.
'It was very positive, considering the murder happened three years ago. I am extremely pleased and would like to thank the public for their support and assistance.
'We are now in the process of recontacting the people who came forward. I am full of optimism for the Webb family. I hope one day one of these snippets of information or telephone calls will change the course of this inquiry.'
DCI Rigby added: 'This year we decided to concentrate our efforts locally, in particular on the man seen running across Dalefords Lane. We have had a few specific calls about this man as a result, even names put forward.
'It is fair to say there is fresh information from the calls, some of which we have not received at all in the past. If anyone has the slightest bit of knowledge and still has not come forward, please contact us.'
A £30,000 reward is still on offer to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer. If you can help, call 01244 613237 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. All calls will be treated in the strictest confidence.