POLICE have launched a cold case review of York’s notorious “red shoe murder”, in the hope of finally identifying the killer 70 years on.

Four-year-old Norma Dale was strangled on September 21, 1946, and her body was found on wasteland near her home in Rawdon Avenue, Tang Hall.

Detectives interviewed more than 1,000 people and called in back-up from Scotland Yard, but nobody was ever arrested and the case has remained unsolved.

Last month, Norma’s cousin Alan Powell spoke to The Press on the 70th anniversary of her murder, and North Yorkshire Police has now announced a cold case review, following the renewed coverage.


Remembering one of York's most notorious unsolved murders, exactly 70 years on.

Another of Norma’s cousins, Brian Dale, 78, welcomed the news.

Asked whether he thought the case could yet be solved, he said: “I really, really hope so. It would be so good if there could be closure.

“It would have been better if her mum had still been alive, that way she would have had closure.”

He said Detective Constable Sam Pearson from North Yorkshire Police had visited him and his wife Beth, who has spent many years researching the case and writing a book, which has not been published.

Brian and Beth Dale

Mr Dale said: “They are gathering as much information as they can and want to see the papers we have.”

He said much of York Police’s records and evidence were lost when the old police station beside the Ouse flooded many years ago, but said North Yorkshire Police were to contact the Metropolitan Police to see if they had surviving records that could be re-examined.

Mr Dale, whose father Pash was the brother of Norma’s father, Cyril, said: “I was one of the last people to see Norma. We used to see her and her mum every week on a Saturday. She went to a dance school in Acomb and our house was nearby in Howe Street. They used to call in for a cup of tea and a play.

Local residents line Rawdon Avenue as the funeral cortege departs

“It was a normal morning, but Norma was pleading to stay and did not want to go home. But her mum wanted to get some material and make a skirt for her going to school.

“But Norma was not allowed to stay and my mother [Mabel Dale] beat herself up about that for a long time. ‘If only I had let her stay,’ she would say. My mum blamed herself.”

Mr Powell, above, Norma’s cousin, said he was pleased police were looking again at the case.

He said: “The person who did it probably can’t be brought to justice now, but at least we can get some closure and find out what happened, put the case to bed.

“We have known all along it’s not a dead case, it’s live as far as NYP is concerned, and they hadn’t forgotten about it, but I think 70 years on is possibly a good time to have another look at it and see if we can come to a conclusion. You never know, it’s just possible someone remembers something they overheard or saw that might give police a new lead.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Officers from the Major Crime Unit have made contact with the family of Norma Dale and North Yorkshire Police has confirmed that the case is under review.

“We will be continuing our enquiries but would appeal to any member of the public who holds any information or evidence that has the potential to identify and ultimately convict the person responsible, to contact us on 101, select option 2 and ask to speak to the Major Crime Unit.

“Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.”