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EXCLUSIVE: Mystery of the woman never seen again after reporting potential Essex Boys murders suspec

MISSING: Linda Millard has not been seen since reporting a potential Essex Boys murders suspect

A WOMAN mysteriously disappeared after reporting to police a potential suspect in the notorious "Essex Boys" murders, Essex News and Investigations can reveal.

Linda Millard has not been seen for more than 22 years after telling police and confiding in a friend about her concerns about the man 's behaviour after news of the gangland killings broke.

Her car was later found with her shoes, handbag and car keys locked in the boot, on top of cliffs at Battery Point, Portishead, near Bristol.

It was nearly three months after the murders, and just days after she had raised her concerns.

No body was ever found and it remains a live missing person case.

Relatives of Mrs Millard, still desperate for answers over what happened, are convinced she did not commit suicide and there may have been foul play involved in her disappearance.

A statement from the family of Mrs Millard said: "We are certain that mum did not take her own life and would never have done that. Something must have happened to her and someone out there must know something. After 22 years we just want to know the truth and urge anyone who does know anything to come forward."

JAILED: Michael Steele (left) and Jack Whomes claim they are innocent

Michael Steele, 75, and Jack Whomes, 56, were jailed for life in January 1998 after being found guilty of the "Rettendon Range Rover" murders of Essex drug barons Patrick Tate, 37, Tony Tucker, 38, and Craig Rolfe, 26.

Their bodies were found in a Range Rover parked in a remote farm track in Rettendon, Essex, on the morning of December 7 1995.

The slayings have been the subject of several British gangster feature films, which have speculated about what happened.

Whomes, from Brockford, Suffolk, and Steele, of from Great Bentley, Essex, were involved in drug deals with the murdered gangsters but have always denied killing them.

The pair launched a new bid for freedom, with an application to the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC) based on claims of non-disclosure of evidence before the trial, in May.

Now it has emerged that Essex Police was notified about the disappearance of Mrs Millard and her claims about the man, who is not Whomes or Steele, two days after she vanished.

An Essex Police document seen by this website described information received by phone from Avon and Somerset Police on March 3 1996 about its inquiries into Mrs Millard.

SEARCH: Linda Millard still comes up as a missing person on charity website

The document recorded that the Avon and Somerset Police officer said: "We have a missing person enquiry for a Linda Millard."

It said while at a friend's house in Bristol, Mrs Millard, originally from Essex, had detailed to her about overhearing the man, who lived in Dorset at the time, on the phone after news of the murders broke.

It went on to say that on March 1 1996 - ten days after she arriving at her friend's home - the man in question "found where she was staying" and she went missing the same day.

It added: "Her car has been found on the cliffs, locked with her shoes inside."

The document added that after overhearing the former Essex man in question on the phone, after news of the murders broke, "she thought he had some knowledge of/involvement in the killings."

It added that Mrs Millard claimed the man had four or five properties in Essex and one in Dorset and would often travel to Portugal.

It said: "Millard believed he was involved in funding drugs, counterfeit perfumes, and pornographic videos."

Mrs Millard also passed evidence about the man to police while at her friends home.

Mrs Millard's relatives said she also passed evidence about the man to police while staying at the friend's, but despite him being interviewed again during a more recent review of the case by police, it had led to no more answers.

MURDERED: Dead drug dealers Pat Tate (left), Tony Tucker (middle) and Craig Rolfe

The man, who is named in the police report but we are not identifying for legal reasons, was unavailable for comment.

However, we spoke with a former business associate from Essex, who was involved with him in property development.

He said: "I have not seen him for about 15 years. He was going to join me in a development in Portugal, but pulled out.

"I know the police spoke to him at the time, but he had done nothing wrong. He would not be involved in anything like that."

Although he did say he was aware he had "an interest" in pornography.

Just two months before being told about Mrs Millard, Essex Police received information from another west country force about the killings.

A separate police report created on January 1 1996 said a detective from Exeter CID had phoned in with information.

The document said the Devon detective had an underworld contact who believed he knew why the three men were killed.

SCENE: The Range Rover (right) plus Essex Boys author Bernard O'Mahoney (left) with Tucker

It said: "(He) has contact with a person who has a good connection with the drugs world in the London and Kent areas.

"This person is alleged to have taken over the work which Tate, Tucker and Rolfe were running - this work started at Christmas time and is still current.

"The contact has stated that they were shot because they owe the firm £60,000 pounds."

The document added: "He has lots of phone enquiries in hand which say be connected with our murder enquiry."

A third document created on March 29 1996 said Essex Police was given by two separate sources the name of another man "said to have played an active role in the three murders" who was also not Whomes or Steele.

The man, who was 36 at the time, was said to have been a "doorman/bodybuilder-type" and an associate of a the north London Adams crime family.

GANGLAND: Terry Adams head of the Adams family from north London

The document said of the man, who was in remanded in custody at the time in Brixton Prison: "He is believed to be well connected and involved in the supply of cocaine.

"He is also known to be a man of extreme violence and suspected of being involved in the shooting murder of a man called Martin in Rothehithe and the stabbing attempted murder of a man called Marcus Williams at a youth club in London."

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said the force would review the case of Mrs Millard again after being contacted by us.

He said: "This is still an active inquiry and we are still appealing for information. We carried out a thorough investigation at the time involving a helicopter.

"During enquiries we spoke to a man who voluntarily allowed a search of his home and no evidence of wrongdoing was found and no further action was taken."

He confirmed that there had been liaison between Essex and his force over the case.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said the force would make no comment on its enquiries into Mrs Millard's claims until the appeal by Whomes and Steele had been exhausted.

If you know anything about Mrs Millard's disappearance email in confidence.

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