Detectives investigating the disappearance of a Sikh woman who lived in Leeds in the 1980s are appealing for information following the arrest of two people on suspicion of her murder.
Officers from West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team arrested a 75-year-old man on suspicion of the murder of 19-year-old Harbans Kaur Lally and arrested a 74-year-old woman on suspicion of conspiracy to murder when they searched an address in Gravesend, Kent, on January 8.
A 53-year-old man was also arrested on the same day from an address in the Hay Mills area of Birmingham on suspicion of perjury. He has been released under investigation and the other man and woman have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
The investigation comes as a result of information received by detectives that raises concerns about Harbans’ disappearance and suspected murder.
Harbans, who was also known as Susan and had the maiden name Ranu, worked at the head office of the Burton Group in Harehills until April 1985. She gave birth to a daughter in July that year at St James’s Hospital and was living at an address in the Meanwood area.
She was born in Rugby, Warwickshire, and grew up and went to school there. She married there in February 1984 and moved to Leeds some time later. She is believed to have returned to Rugby in 1985 and disappeared after that, possibly after travelling to India. She was 19 years old at the time.
As part of the investigation, detectives have also conducted house-to-house enquiries in Bennett Street, in Rugby, where she and her family lived. Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Bryar, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said:
“We have recently received information that raises concerns about Harbans’ apparent disappearance, which we are now treating as a murder investigation. We are currently trying to build up a picture of her life at the time she disappeared and we are very keen to hear from anyone with any information that could assist us. We would like to speak to anyone who knew Harbans, who was also known as Susan, when she lived and worked in Leeds in 1984 to 1985, and also anyone who knew her when she was growing up in Rugby, either through school or in the area she lived.
"We are particularly interested to speak to anyone who knew her when she returned there in 1985. We would like to reassure people that we will treat all information in the strictest confidence and would urge anyone who does know something that could assist the investigation to contact us.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team via 101 quoting Operation Parryton or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.