Detectives in Sussex have made a special TV appeal in bid for more information about the murder of Jennifer Kiely, 35, who was killed 16 years ago on Eastbourne seafront.

Detective Superintendent Emma Heater of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, and Jennifer’s mother, Margaret Kiely, both appeared on the BBC1 Crimewatch Live programme at 11am on Tuesday 9 March.

On the early morning of 22 January 2005 a fire was reported in a shelter on the lower promenade at Holywell on Eastbourne sea front. Jennifer’s body was found in the shelter. She had sustained multiple stab wounds, her body had been set on fire, and the pushchair she habitually had with her was on top of her body.

The initial investigation only closed in May 2007. In 2009 the case was assessed and deferred for further assessment as there had been no new intelligence or other development.

However since 2011 it has been a live case while forensic reviews and further work have been commissioned. Since 2017 police have been working on the new forensic line of enquiry relating to unidentified DNA found at the scene. 

Jennifer’s family continue to have the support of Family Liaison Officers from Sussex Police, and her mother, Margaret, who lives in Ireland, said; “I think of her every day. Somebody, somewhere, knows who is responsible.

Detective Superintendent Heater said; “Jennifer, who was well known in Eastbourne among charities and had many friends, spent the last day of her life with friends at an address in Upperton Gardens. That night she had a bath and left at about midnight, and was last seen at about 1am , walking west along the seafront in the direction of Holywell. Her body was found by council workers at 5am.

“Please do not hesitate to come forward if you have any information, either something you remember from 2005 that was not reported or that you may have heard since. As a result of the further forensic evidence we have the ability to eliminate people from our enquiry.

“One person we have yet to trace and eliminate from the investigation is a man seen that night walking along the middle of the road at the rear of the Grand Hotel. 

“He was described as Eastern European by his accent and appearance.  He was about 5’10-11”, of slim to medium build. His hair was a lighter blond colour, short but in no particular style. His face was roundish and he had dominant cheek and jaw lines and his nose was very straight. 

“He was wearing a dark blue short jacket which had a collar and it was zipped right up to beneath his chin. He had also wore a pair of grey jeans, they definitely weren’t track suit trousers or normal trousers. On his feet he was wearing white training shoes.

“Further information about the current line of forensic enquiry is not being revealed at this time, but if anyone has any information that was not shared with us during the original investigation or since, no matter how small you may think it is, please report online at or call 101 at any time, quoting Operation Kittiwake.

“Jennifer’s family deserve to know what happened to her and who is responsible.”