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Angela Blackmoore cold case: It's never too late to solve a murder

ANALYSIS: A lot can happen in 24 years.

During that time, a Christchurch woman started a family, lived through the earthquakes and split from her husband.

The 47-year-old, police allege, also lived with a dark secret, one she hoped would never see the light of day.

On Friday, the woman woke unaware investigators were looking at her in connection with the cold case killing of Angela Blackmoore.

* 'Someone's been charged with Angela's murder': The call Laurie Anderson waited 24 years for
* Man and woman charged with notorious cold case murder of Angela Blackmoore
* Police offer record $ 100k reward for info about Angela Blackmoore's 1995 murder
* Dark Secret

By the end of the day she was in custody, along with a 45-year-old man, charged with the 21-year-old's murder.

Blackmoore was 10 weeks pregnant when she was stabbed 39 times in the kitchen-dining area of ​​her home in the east Christchurch suburb of Wainoni, on August 17, 1995.

Police believe she was killed not long after a pizza was delivered to the Vancouver Cres property, where she lived with her new partner, Laurie Anderson, at 9pm.

Laurie Anderson and Angela Blackmoore.

Laurie Anderson and Angela Blackmoore.

Anderson returned home from work about 11.20pm and discovered her mutilated body lying in a pool of drying blood.

There was no sign of forced entry to the house, suggesting Blackmoore likely knew those responsible.

Investigators found a bloody size-10 bootprint on the kitchen floor, but there was little other evidence pointing to the identity of the killer or killers.

The police inquiry – dubbed Operation Vancouver – looked at those in the city's underworld.

She was known to have used drugs and spent time living and working on the streets.

Laurie Anderson and his niece Stacey Brosnan outside of the Ministry of Justice Precinct in Christchurch on Saturday.


Laurie Anderson and his niece Stacey Brosnan outside of the Ministry of Justice Precinct in Christchurch on Saturday.

Investigators also scrutinised those closer to home.

Angela Blackmoore was not long out of a volatile 18-month marriage with William Blackmoore. The pair were fighting for custody of their son, Dillon. William Blackmoore told detectives he was on the other side of town with his new partner. The alibi checked out.

As time dragged on, police continued to receive information about the case and always remaining hopeful it would be solved, particularly with advances in DNA testing techniques.

However, it wasn't until they offered a record $ 100,000 reward, sparked by a stuff investigation – The Homicide Report – in May, that they got the breakthrough.

Investigators received nearly 50 tips as a result of the appeal for information and it appears one of them led them to the accused pair. The reward will only be paid out upon conviction.

The families of the 47-year-old woman and 45-year-old man are said to be shocked at their arrests. They had no inkling either was involved.

"It was 24 years ago, he wasn't living at home. We don't know anything about it other than what we've read," a relative of the arrested man said.

The Homicide Report

AND stuff investigation into why New Zealanders kill

Detective Sergeant Todd Hamilton worked on the original investigation as the file manager and is now the officer in charge of the case.

Earlier this year he told stuff there had been times when he thought a resolution was at hand only to find the lead he was pursuing did not pan out.

"I'm sure that whoever did this thinks about it constantly," Hamilton said at the time.

"They should know we will never stop investigating this [case] until we solve it. "

On Saturday, Hamilton cut a happy and relieved figure sitting in the public gallery at the Christchurch District Court as the accused pair, who have interim name suppression, were remanded in custody without entering pleas. Their next scheduled appearance is in the High Court on November 14.

Anderson hopes the arrests, despite happening after the deaths of Blackmoore's parents, will bring closure for those who knew her.

And a press release from police on Saturday announcing the breakthrough hinted there might be more to come.

"The investigation into her death remains ongoing and detectives are committed to ensuring all those involved are held to account," it said.

The Blackmoore case will give renewed hope to those waiting for answers about the dozens of other unsolved murders in New Zealand.

That list includes the likes of John Reynolds, Kirsty Bentley and Jane Furlong.

It's never too late to solve a murder.

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