Father of murdered Bromley woman Debbie Linsley tells of grief 25 years on

PUBLISHED: 11:14 28 March 2013 | UPDATED: 11:14 28 March 2013

Pictures of Arthur Linsley and his daughter Debbie

Pictures of Arthur Linsley and his daughter Debbie


It was during dinner with friends on a Wednesday evening 25 years ago that Arthur Linsley’s world was turned upside down.

His 26-year-old daughter had left her parents’s house, in Lakeside Drive, Bromley, earlier the same day to travel back to Edinburgh where she worked as a hotel manager.

Having boarded a train from Petts Wood shortly after 2.15pm on March 23 1988, Debbie Linsley was found dead on the carriage floor by staff at the end of line at Victoria just before 3pm.

She had been stabbed at least five times, with a post mortem recording her cause of death as a stab wound to the heart.

Arthur recalls the “shock” he felt when his and his wife Marguerite’s evening was disturbed by three police officers who informed them that their daughter had been killed.

“It was about 8pm when the doorbell rang,” said the 78-year-old. “There policemen on the doorstep who wanted to speak to me.

“I was in shock, it’s just not the sort of thing you expect to happen. Then all hell broke loose.”

Debbie was a feisty and bubbly character, according to her dad, who still lives in the same home where she grew up as a pupil of Princes Plain Primary School.

Her last trip home had been for a bridesmaid dress fitting ahead of her little brother Gordon’s wedding, which tragically, she never made.

Arthur said: “Gordon is a high flyer now, but she is still his big sister and in times of stress or upset he often says ‘I wish she was around now’.”

A French passenger on the same train as Debbie recalled hearing screams on board after it left Brixton.

And although the attacker was injured during the murder – with DNA samples from blood found in the carriage – no arrests have ever been made during the 25 years that have passed.

Now police are renewing appeals for information and offering £20,000 for any leads that result in the arrest, charge or prosecution of the murderer.

Det Ch Insp Chris Burgess, head of specialist crime review group, said: “The passage of time has not diminished the shocking nature of this crime, it has just made it harder to bear for her loved ones.

“The person responsible would have had blood on their clothes and would have been injured.

“I think there are members of the public who know who this is and I want to reach out to them.”

Despite the passing of a quarter of a century, Arthur says that the loss of his daughter never gets any easier to accept – made all the more difficult by the death of his wife in 2011.

He compares the feeling to loss of a limb, adding that not a day goes by when he doesn’t think of Debbie.

“When people would say we should be getting over it by now – my wife would say ‘it’s like losing an arm or a leg, you get on with it but you never stop missing it’. I think about Debbie every day.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bromley Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Bromley Times