Ann Heron

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Ann Heron
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Ann Cockburn

CitizenshipUnited Kingdom

Ann Heron was a British woman who was murdered on 3 August 1990 at her home in Darlington, County Durham, by an unidentified killer[1]. The case was heavily featured in British media as well as on the BBC programme Crimewatch UK in October 1990, but her murder remains unsolved. A private investigator identified Michael Benson as a possible suspect in 2020 [2].


Ann Heron was born Ann Cockburn in 1946 in Scotland but moved to England around 1984 when she began a relationship with Peter Heron. The couple got married and lived in Aeolian House on the outskirts of Darlington, County Durham. Peter Heron worked as a company director of a haulage firm not far from his home. Ann Heron had a part-time job helping out as a care assistant at a local care home[1].


On the morning of 3 August 1990, Heron went shopping in Darlington with a friend. Later that afternoon, Heron was sunbathing in her garden. When Peter Heron arrived home from work at 18:00pm, her radio was found still on, along with her book and cigarettes. The family dog was also outside, and the house front door was open. Heron’s body was found in the living room of the house. Heron was lying on the floor in a pool of blood and had a stab wound in her neck. [3].


When the police first investigated the crime, they noticed that there were no signs of a struggle. A friend of Heron’s who was passing by the house in a bus gave evidence to say they had seen her sunbathing in her garden at around 15:30pm. Another witness said they though they saw Heron driving near her home with two unidentified persons in the car around 16:15pm, but they were not certain it was Heron[4].

A witness came forward in August 1990 to say they saw a blue car that had been seen outside the house around 16:45pm. The police found no evidence of a robbery or sexual assault. Police believe Heron was murdered around 17:00pm. Peter Heron discovered her body at 18:00pm[1].

By 1991, the case had gone cold, despite press conferences and a Crimewatch UK reconstruction. In December 1992, a woman told police a man came to the card shop in Darlington where she worked and boasted about killing Heron. In October 1994, the police received a letter from someone claiming to be the killer [5].

Peter Heron was charged with murder in 2005 but the case against him was subsequently dropped due to a lack of evidence. He also had witnesses to provide an alibi, confirming he was at work during the day[5].

In 2020, investigator Jen Jarvie identified Michael Benson as a "viable suspect" [2]. It was reported that around the summer of 1990, Benson was on the run from prison. Benson was described as a violent criminal with a strong criminal history of robbery, burglary and assault with a shotgun, and another with a carving knife. Ms Jarvie also mentioned that Benson owned a blue car, like the one seen outside the house the day Heron was murdered [2]. Benson died in 2011.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 {{|url= |title= Ann Heron Cold Case |date=3 August 2020 |access-date=20 December 2020}}
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 {{|url= |title= Ann Heron murder: 'New suspect' identified in 30-year-old case |date=3 August 2020 |access-date=20 December 2020}}
  3. {{|url= |title= Ann Heron murder: 'New suspect' identified in 30-year-old case |date=3 August 2020 |access-date=20 December 2020}}
  4. {{|url= |title= Ann Heron’s son makes emotional appeal |access-date=20 December 2020}}
  5. 5.0 5.1 {{|url= |title= I met man who claimed to be Ann Heron’s murderer says retired shopworker |access-date=20 December 2020}}

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