Paula Hounslea was a British victim of a murder that remains unsolved. She went missing on 22 August 2009 and her body was discovered on 5 May 2012. Hounslea's daughter and her boyfriend were arrested for her murder but there was not enough evidence to bring a prosecution against either of them. The investigation remains open.
|Disappeared||22 August 2009 (aged 36–37)|
West Derby, Liverpool, England
|Body discovered||5 May 2012, Fazakerley, Liverpool, England|
Hounslea was 37 years old at the time of her disappearance, was white around 5 ft 8ins tall, of medium build with blonde or light brown shoulder-length hair. Hounslea was described as having bipolar disorder and was in poor health. Although at the time of the disappearance she was not known to have a job, it was thought she may have been employed as a bartender and seamstress. Hounslea lived with her only daughter, Lois, in Culme Road, West Derby, Liverpool.
She was last seen wearing a grey jumper and possibly a pink cardigan over the top with dark jeans and a gold Madonna pendant necklace. It is thought that she had three small bags of clothes with her. Hounslea was last seen by her family when they dropped her off at her home after a family meal at a Chinese restaurant.
The next morning, on 22 August 2009, Lois claims that Hounslea went into her room and told her that she was going to stay with a friend named Vicky for a few days. Lois claimed that Hounslea left that morning carrying a number of bags of clothes. At 17:50, Lois' phone received a text message from Hounslea's phone saying that she was going to stay with a friend. A message was also sent to Vicky's phone from Hounslea's saying that she was going away for a few days. It was later established that Hounslea had booked and paid for a hotel room for that night, but never arrived to check in.
The alarm was raised when it was discovered that Hounslea had not stayed with Vicky and had not called her parents, which was said to be out of character.
Hounslea's cash card was used to withdraw money on a number of separate occasions in the days following her disappearance. At an inquest in 2014, police files revealed that a total of £850 was withdrawn from her account after she disappeared, including a £200 withdrawal made at 03:23. Police have stated that both Hounslea and her daughter knew the PIN for the card.
During the period of her disappearance, an apparent attempt to phone Vicky had been made from Hounslea's phone; however, technical problems prevented the call from being connected. A total of 176 calls were made to Hounslea's voicemail after her disappearance. These calls came from Vicky, and Hounslea's parents and sisters; none came from her daughter Lois.
Discovery of the bodyEdit
On 5 May 2012, Hounslea's body was found by a dog walker next to the loop line cycle path in Fazakerley, Liverpool near its junction with Blackthorn Road. The dog discovered the bones on an embankment in what appeared to be an old fire pit. The male dog walker called the police immediately. The body was identified using Hounslea's medical and dental records. A 20 cm kitchen knife was found in the fire pit alongside Hounslea's body, similar to knives used at her home. Discovered with the body was some melted blue plastic of the type used to make wheelie bins.
Police have been unable to establish exactly when Hounslea was killed but stated that the body was dumped in the fire pit at some time between September 2011 and January 2012.
Police launched a murder inquiry following the discovery of the body and appealed to the public with the hope of making contact with anyone who saw Hounslea either on the day of the disappearance or after.
On 13 June 2012, Hounslea's daughter Lois and her boyfriend, Kevin Kavanagh, then aged 21 and 20 respectively, were arrested on suspicion of murder. They were released on bail the next day. The house Lois shared with her mother was sealed off for forensic examination. Lois and Kevin were released without charge in August 2013 due to insufficient evidence.
At the inquest, prosecutors stated there was not enough evidence to charge Lois and Kavanagh as there was "no realistic prospect of conviction". Lois was twice summoned to appear at her mother's inquest but failed to attend both times as she was unwell after suffering an asthma attack. She was admitted to hospital for this. Kavanagh appeared in the witness box but stated that he had been advised not to answer questions put by the coroner to avoid potential incrimination. A narrative verdict was recorded and the police have stated that the case remains open.
- ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
- ^ "Police identify remains found near Liverpool's loopline". St Helens Star. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- ^ a b Lee, Susan (2 May 2012). "Parents of Paula Hounslea reveal pain as they mark 40th birthday of their missing daughter - In The Mix Today - News". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- ^ a b "Launch Of Murder Investigation In Connection With Paula Hounslea". Merseyside.police.uk. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Siddle, John (26 April 2014). "Evidence revealed in mystery death". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
- ^ a b c d e "Paula Hounslea Murder: Police Launch Inquiry After Bones Found On Embankment". Huffingtonpost.co.uk. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- ^ a b c d Siddle, John (22 May 2012). "Body found on loop line is missing Liverpool woman Paula Hounslea - Liverpool Local News - News". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- ^ a b Siddle, John (13 June 2012). "11.30AM UPDATE: Paula Hounslea's daughter Lois arrested over her murder". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- ^ Jaleel, Gemma (23 June 2012). "Paula Hounslea murder: Daughter Lois Hounslea released on bail - Liverpool Local News - News". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- ^ Barlow, Eleanor (20 March 2014). "Inquest into Paula Hounslea death adjourned after daughter fails to appear to give evidence". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 7 November 2016.