Detective honoured for helping crack cold case
A DETECTIVE who spent 12 years helping to crack one of the region's most notorious unsolved murders has been given an award for his dedication.
Detective Inspector Conrad Owen was singled out for praise for his work solving the murder of nine-year-old Christopher Laverack in 1984.
Police confirmed earlier this year Christopher had been sexually abused and battered to death by his uncle Melvyn Read, who died in prison in 2008.
Humberside Police Chief Constable Tim Hollis presented Det Insp Owen with the award for exceptional performance in the investigation of serious and organised crime at his annual performance awards.
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Det Insp Owen worked on two cold case teams that examined the Laverack case between 2000 and 2011.
He said: "Although this award was presented to me personally, it is a reflection of the wider team effort.
"I, like the force, am satisfied the case has been solved through a rigorous process. Unfortunately, we will never know what happened to Christopher that night and that is an ongoing source of frustration for the officers who investigated the murder and, primarily, to Christopher's family."
Read was the prime suspect in the case since 2001, when he was investigated by police for sexually abusing young boys.
Although he was arrested on suspicion of killing his nephew in 2001 and 2006, police did not have enough evidence to charge him with the murder.
However, advances in forensic science meant detectives were able to conclusively link Read to the killing of his nephew after a new investigation was launched in 2007.
A citation read by Mr Hollis said the award recognised his "commitment and dedication" to solving the crime.
Ten other awards were handed out during a presentation at the University of Hull.
The force employee of the year award went to PC Sharon Houfe, community cohesion officer for Hull.
Mr Hollis said: "PC Houfe is a well respected officer both within the local community and among her colleagues within the force. Her work is regularly brought to the attention of senior management team members."
Detectives from the East Riding public protection team were also given an award for their outstanding investigation work, while Hull incident response officer PC Samantha Brown was praised for her "enthusiasm and determination to protect the people of Hull".
The Humberside Police air support unit was given the "outstanding contribution in support of divisional policing" award after helicopter pilots stopped a train heading towards a car blocking railway lines in Witty Street, west Hull. Mr Hollis said: "The quick response of the air support unit enabled the train to be stopped and this resulting in nobody being injured."
Mr Hollis, who retires from the force next year, was thanked for his service by Deputy Chief Constable David Griffin.