Murder Inquiry: Witness talks of the last time she spoke to Arthur Brumhill at Northampton store

Arthur Brumhill was murdered at the Denton's Pet and Garden Store in Wellingborough Road, Northampton, on January 22, 1993.
Arthur Brumhill was murdered at the Denton's Pet and Garden Store in Wellingborough Road, Northampton, on January 22, 1993.

The last person to speak to Arthur Brumhill said his death shocked the community in Northampton at the time.

Helen Charnley was 16 years old in January 1993 when she and her mum stopped to chat to Mr Brumhill as he was closing up the shop.

They could not have known it then, but following the discovery of his body, police told Mrs Charnley she was the last person to talk to him.

But news of an arrest has left her feeling not only relieved, but has also brought back memories from the time of the tragedy.

Mrs Charnley lived with her parents in Florence Road, not far from the murder scene, and she and her mother had been on their way back from the Co-op when they encountered Mr Brumhill.

For that reason, when the BBC’s Crimewatch programme screened the witness appeal to millions across the country, she and her mum were asked to participate.

But filming with a body double of the well-liked Mr Brumhill had a profound affect on her.

She said: “I found the Crimewatch filming really traumatic.

“They dressed him in a brown smock coat and he looked so much like Arthur it was uncanny.

“It really shook me up, I was in bits knowing what had happened and having to pretend everything was okay for the cameras.”

On her feeling about the arrest, Mrs Charnley said: “It’s always affected me because of my involvement but also because it shook the whole community.

“I think that was when you lost some trust in the people you lived alongside.

“I never thought they’d make another arrest because it’s been so long, but you always hope.

“It’s nice to know that the police never stop looking, that they never forgot.”