Geoffrey Leeming's murder was dubbed the Coronation Street killing because it took place as that most innocent of programmes was beginning on October 9, 1996.

Geoffrey did not enjoy the nation's favourite soap opera and so he left his wife Jackie and popped out to close the garage doors at their home in Linley Avenue, a cul-de-sac in the quiet, commuter-belt suburb of Haxby.

The darkened garage became the scene of Geoffrey's brutal murder at the hands of a knife-wielding killer who left virtually no clues behind.

As the familiar Coronation Street theme tune signalled the end of the Wednesday episode, Jackie wondered what Geoffrey was up to in the garage - she knew he did not like the programme but he was not normally gone this long.

When she went to the garage, she found him dead, lying in a pool of blood.

As is often the case in murder inquiries, suspicion falls on the closest members of the family.

Geoffrey's murder was no different.

So in the space of half an hour Jackie's life was torn apart - her husband was murdered and she herself became the prime suspect as a conspirator who had helped to plot the killing.

Residents in the normally quiet community of Haxby also began to point the finger at the Leeming family.

In April 1997, I wrote to Jackie to ask if she would be prepared to talk to the Evening Press and discuss her feelings as rumours reached the paper from Haxby.

Jackie agreed to speak to me and together with a photographer, I visited Jackie and her daughter Jayne in the town.

Jackie and Jayne were very friendly, very welcoming, if a little nervous.

We were at the house for almost two hours and as time went by Jackie opened up more and more.

This was the first time she had spoken to the press but she later went on to appear on television several times - including GMTV.

Jackie was full of admiration for Geoffrey - "He was a very good person, nobody will find anything bad in Geoff's life," she said.

She described calmly the horror of finding her husband's body, of the police taking her clothes for examination - of the interminable wait for Geoffrey's body to be released for burial - of the living hell of being accused.

She described it as living in a dark hole - a place where the days are full of questions and the nights full of tears.

Jackie was almost obsessed with why she couldn't bury her husband. He was lying in a freezer in the morgue, a darkly ironic resting place for a man who hated the cold.

Geoffrey's body was finally released for burial and his funeral was held in Bishopthorpe on May 21 last year. His coffin was covered with 63 red roses from Jackie, one for each year of his life.

In church, Jackie wept uncontrollably, the detectives mingled with the mourners, and more than a dozen reporters sat impassively at the back.

This case has generated intense media interest - interest which peaked when Jackie, Jayne and Stephen were arrested and charged with conspiring to kill Geoffrey.

Now, 21 months after Geoffrey took his last evening walk to his garage, his family have walked from court - no longer facing conspiracy to murder charges - and the riddle of who killed Geoffrey Leeming remains unsolved.

see NEWS 'Family in clear over murder'

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