Specialist ‘cold case’ detectives review unsolved Leeds murder 13 years on

Leeds businessman John Luper, who was murdered in February 2004.
Leeds businessman John Luper, who was murdered in February 2004.

It is 13 years since businessman John Luper died after being attacked by masked men a short distance from his Leeds home.

But his family remains as hopeful as ever that those responsible will be found.

John Luper's daughter,  Liza Rose Luper, and his brother, Toby Luper, on last year's anniversary.

John Luper's daughter, Liza Rose Luper, and his brother, Toby Luper, on last year's anniversary.

Today West Yorkshire Police revealed that the case has been taken on by its Major Investigation Review Team, which plans to take a fresh look at all the available evidence.

The ‘cold case’ team will focus in particular on advances in forensic science which could yield new lines of enquiry.

Mr Luper’s brother, Toby, said: “You read in the media, all the time, that ‘old’ criminal cases are regularly solved by technical advances being made in the field of DNA and I am confident that one day John’s murderers will be brought to justice through this method too.”

Mr Luper, 57, was attacked by a group of four or five masked men as he walked his dog near his neighbour’s driveway at about 11.30pm on February 16, 2004.

We are still convinced that there will be people out there, most likely in the criminal fraternity, who know who was involved in the murder.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Dunkerley

He was then dragged back to his home in Sandmoor Drive, Alwoodley.

His wife, daughter and the family’s au pair were tied up with duct tape and left in an upstairs bedroom before the suspects left the property.

When they managed to free themselves, they found Mr Luper unconscious on the morning room floor.

Police were called at 1.45am on February 17 and, despite attempts to resuscitate him, Mr Luper was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police stand guard outside the  house  of John Luper in Sandmoor Drive , Alwoodley, at the time of the murder.

Police stand guard outside the house of John Luper in Sandmoor Drive , Alwoodley, at the time of the murder.

A post mortem examination showed he died as a result of asphyxiation.

Jewellery and cash totalling around £100,000 were taken during the robbery.

It included a rare Cartier watch, which was platinum with vertical rows of diamonds either side of the face.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Dunkerley, who heads the Major Investigation Review Team, said: “The murder of John Luper during a robbery at his home was a crime that shocked the community and left his family absolutely devastated.

A forensic officer at the scene in February 2004.

A forensic officer at the scene in February 2004.

“Although 13 years have now passed, we remain fully committed to doing everything we can to bring his killers to justice and get his family the answers they need.

“Bringing the case into the remit of the Major Investigation Review Team will see it undergo a full and comprehensive review of all the available evidence.

“This will allow us to re-examine and explore every available avenue that could potentially give us news lines of enquiry.”

While forensic examination of existing evidence will be a key focus, both the investigation team and Mr Luper’s family have urged anyone with information to come forward.

Toby Luper said: “As a family, we are pleased to hear that the West Yorkshire Police’s determination like our own, has not diminished over the years and they are continuing in their efforts to trace John’s murderers.

“The appointment of a new specialist investigative team is most encouraging.

“We would like to appeal to anyone with the slightest bit of information that they might have in relation to this case to contact the police.”

Det Chief Insp Dunkerley added: “We are still convinced that there will be people out there, most likely in the criminal fraternity, who know who was involved in the murder.

“Allegiances often change over time and it could be that someone is in a better position now to pass on what they know, either direct to us or anonymously via Crimestoppers.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team via 101.

Information can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Members of the public are being warned about about rogue websites advertising fake premium rate numbers for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' cruelty line.

SCAM ALERT: People warned of fake RSPCA websites advertising premium rate numbers