The Murder Of Colette Aram

In October 1983 a 16-year-old British trainee hairdresser, Colette Aram, was abducted, raped and strangled as she walked home from her boyfriend's house in Keyworth, Nottingham. It took 26 years and advances in forensic technology before her killer, Paul Hutchinson, was caught and convicted of her murder.

Disappearance and Investigation

Colette Aram left her home in Normanton Lane, Keyworth, shortly after 8pm on 30th October 1983 to walk the 1.5 miles to her boyfriend's house. Her boyfriend usually collected her, but his car was off the road. She was last seen at about 8:10pm turning into Nicker Hill where she stopped to talk to a group of friends, and witnesses reported hearing a woman screaming followed by a car driving off at speed afterwards. Her family raised the alarm when she did not arrive at her boyfriend's house, and after a series of frantic phone calls, they called police at 10:30pm to help family and friends search for Colette. At 9am the following morning, they discovered her naked body dumped in a field about a mile and a half from where she had been abducted. She had been raped and strangled.


Police launched a murder investigation and on 7th June 1984 the Murder of Colette Aram was the first case to be featured on BBC TV series Crimewatch, a programme which reconstructs major unsolved crimes to gain information from members of the public. Because of the appeal, police received 400 tip-offs and eliminated 1,500 suspects from their enquiries. However, the killer remained at large. Crimewatch's 20th anniversary show featured the case for a second time in 2004.

In 2008 advances in forensic technology allowed Nottinghamshire Police to put together a DNA profile of the killer, and officers appealed for members of the public to come forward with the names of suspects who they could test DNA using a mouth swab. A similar appeal had been made in the hunt for the M25 rapist and had proved successful. Police received over 100 calls from members of the public.


Arrest of suspect

In June 2008 a young man, Jean-Paul Hutchinson, was arrested on a motoring charge. Police routinely take DNA swabs from anyone arrested, and Mr Hutchinson's DNA was a near identical match to the profile of the killer of Colette Aram. However, Jean-Paul was only 20 years old at the time of his arrest and DNA swab, so he had not been born at the time of the murder. The match provided the police with the breakthrough needed to solve the case.

In April 2009 police arrested Paul Stewart Hutchinson, father of Jean-Paul and then aged 50, and charged him with the murder. Originally Hutchinson tried to blame the murder on his brother Gerhard who died in January 2008 and who had been cremated but DNA tests ruled Gerhard using a blood sample held by a hospital and the DNA didn't match that left at the scene. They held Paul Hutchinson on remand after his arrest and entered a plea of not guilty on 5th October but changed his plea to guilty at a pre-trial hearing on 21st December 2009.


About Paul Hutchinson

After sexually assaulting and strangling Colette in 1983, Paul Hutchinson lived a normal life. He was a self-styled community champion; he raised a family, living within 5 miles of the scene of the crime. Self-employed newspaper distributor also became a school governor and charity worker. He was 51 years old when he pleaded guilty.

Sentencing and Death

A jury convicted Paul Hutchinson on 25th January 2010 and the judge sentenced him to life with a minimum term of 25 years at Nottingham Crown Court for the Murder of Colette Aram. Colette's mother, Jacqui Kirkby, said Hutchinson's sentencing brought some relief, but the family next needed to know why Colette was killed - a question Hutchinson refused to answer. 

We are never ever going to get closure because we never got answers and we never will. He never showed any more remorse and he took the coward's way out.

Jacqui Kirkby, Colette's mother

At 8am on 10th October 2010, Paul Hutchinson was found unconscious in his cell at Nottingham Prison. Paramedics were called and they tried to resuscitate him. He died at 9:58am in an ambulance on the way to hospital. It is believed he took an overdose of medication, but a post-mortem examination was inconclusive. It is thought he committed suicide because his wife decided to divorce him. 

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