Was missing Eastbourne teen murdered by serial killer?

Louise Kay
Louise Kay

The disappearance of an Eastbourne teenager 30 years ago will be featured in a television show tonight (Thursday).

And the docudrama – on ITV at 9pm – will also link missing Louise Kay to serial killer Peter Tobin.

The Investigator: A British Crime Story is presented by former police detective Mark Williams-Thomas and the show opens by exploring the case of Louise, who was 18 when she disappeared in 1988 along with her distinctive Ford Fiesta, after her family asks for his help.

Louise, who lived in Polegate, was last seen on the night of June 1988 driving towards Beachy Head after a night out clubbing in Eastbourne with her best friend Sarah Emmerson.

Louise and her distinctive Ford Fiesta - which was gold with one white door - then vanished off the face of the earth.

Sarah says in the programme, “It’s the biggest regret of my life. She didn’t want to come in and wanted to sleep at Beachy Head. I do feel guilty. If I could have done something different we wouldn’t be sitting here now.”

Williams-Thomas’s investigation sends him on the trail of the prime suspect in her murder, convicted killer Peter Tobin, who was living nearby at the time.

As he delves deeper into the case he discovers a series of other missing women and unsolved murder cases who could also be the undetected victims of a serial killer.

Williams-Thomas said, “I start by trying to find some answers for Louise Kay’s loved-ones after I met her family and they asked for my help.

“I retrace her final steps and discover shocking revelations about Peter Tobin, the prime suspect in her murder.

“And what I then discover is the sheer scale of unsolved murders and young women who have gone missing in this country and we don’t know the answer. It’s truly shocking.”

Williams-Thomas’ probe into Louise’s disappearance leads him to Tobin, the first serial killer investigated in the series.

Tobin, 71, is serving life in jail for murdering three women.

Former Detective Superintendent David Swindle, who led the Operation Anagram review into Tobin in 2006, tells Williams-Thomas, “I think Peter Tobin has killed many other victims and their bodies will be buried somewhere.”

In his investigation, Williams-Thomas’ probes Tobin’s potential link to Louise’s distinctive car.

He studies the movements of the elusive killer - who used multiple aliases, phone numbers, cars and addresses to avoid detection by the police - to see if he can place him in the area when Louise disappeared.

And he investigates a Brighton address where Tobin lived shortly after Louise’s disappearance that has never been searched by the police.

Louise’s sister, Nicola Stork, tells Williams-Thomas, “I have such strong feelings that Peter Tobin is connected to Louise’s disappearance. I know he’s in prison and he’s already being punished. I don’t care about him. I just want to know where she is. If there are remains found then we can bury her - that she has the respect she deserves.”

Louise’s case is just the beginning for Williams-Thomas, in what turns into a vast year-long investigation spanning four decades of cold cases across Britain.

He also explores the unsolved murder mystery of Jessie Earl, who went missing in 1980 and her body was found in 1989 hidden in undergrowth at Beachy Head - close to the spot Louise went missing the previous year.

With extensive access to the families, friends and police officers who carried out the initial probes, Williams-Thomas investigates if Tobin could have been linked to both abductions at the popular beauty spot.