Police have launched a fresh appeal on the 50th anniversary of an RAF servicewoman’s brutal murder.

Rita Ellis, an aircraftswoman, was murdered at RAF Halton on November 11, 1967, just months after she was drafted there.

The 19-year-old’s body was found by a dog walker near a disused railway line at the old coal yard about 250 yards from the main road from Wendover to Tring at around 10.30am on November 12.

The body had been covered by leaves and foliage.

Police said Rita, who was stationed at the camp, had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

Her sister Tina Streeter, who was 10 at the time, paid tribute to Rita on the 50th anniversary of her murder, saying she was “wonderful”.

The now 60-year-old nurse said: “She was so kind, so caring, and so supportive but she seemed to be frightened of certain situations and used to scare quite easily.

“She was painfully shy so going into the RAF was great for Rita because it broadened her horizons and gave her the confidence which she didn’t have.

“After Rita died I used to read the newspaper cuttings and it used to give me nightmares. I tried to understand it but I just kept thinking about whether she suffered – those things went through my head even as a ten-year-old.”

At the time of the murder, Thames Valley Police did not exist – the local police force was the Buckinghamshire Constabulary – but it was New Scotland Yard that led the investigation.

Police said Rita was due to babysit for a wing commander and his wife on the night of her murder and was due to be picked up from her living quarters at around 7.30pm, but there was allegedly some confusion about the agreed pick-up time.

The wing commander is believed to have arrived at Rita’s accommodation at around 7.40pm and waited for her for around 15 minutes before leaving.

Around 10 minutes later he returned to the accommodation with his wife as she would have been allowed to enter her living quarters, but Rita was not there.

Head of the Thames Valley Police major crime review team Peter Beirne said: “We know Rita had been working at the camp’s kitchens from 11am to 7pm on the day she was murdered. The last time she was seen alive was in her accommodation at about 8pm.

“On the night Rita was murdered there were two events being held at the camp, bingo and a disco, therefore there would have been hundreds of people in the vicinity of where Rita was waiting for her lift.

“It was common that entertainment was provided at the camp for civilians as well as servicemen and servicewomen. This included discos held at the Naafi, a Junior Ranks Club, The Tavern Bar, the Astra Cinema and a bar called Portakabin.

“On the night she was murdered Rita was wearing a coat, cardigan, skirt, underwear and shoes. She was also carrying two handbags. All of these items were recovered at the scene.”

Rita joined the RAF on April 28, 1967, initially training at Spittlegate RAF in Grantham, Lincolnshire, before being drafted to RAF Halton on June 21 the same year.

She was a trade assistant and was getting extra qualifications as part of her training with the RAF.

Rita was the oldest of four siblings – besides Tina, she also had two brothers who were 17 and 13 at the time

Her parents, who have since died, lived in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

Tina said: “Rita’s murder has had a huge impact on me and my family. My mother and Rita were incredibly close, they were like sisters.

“My mother was never the same after Rita died, my mother had a number of illnesses and incidentally she died on the same day as Rita on November 11, 1994.

“It’s been a long time coming but we want justice for Rita. Someone, somewhere must have some information. I urge them to please come forward to the police and give us closure and allow Rita to be at peace.”

Mr Beirne added: “I am making a new appeal on the 50th anniversary of the brutal murder of Rita Ellis.

“Rita’s family has waited too long for justice and I now hope the public can help us find her killer.

“Thanks to re-examination of evidence found at the scene we have now obtained a full DNA profile of the offender and almost 200 potential suspects have been ruled out.

“I believe the offender would have been a young man, possibly aged in his teens to mid-twenties at the time, so it is likely he will now be aged in his sixties to eighties.

“A number of arrests were made during the initial investigation but no-one has ever been charged with Rita’s murder.

“The person responsible for Rita’s murder will have had this horrific act on their conscience for 50 years, and there has to be a possibility that they have confided in someone during this time.

“If you have any information, even if you think the information is insignificant, please come forward.

“In the time that has passed allegiances may have changed or perhaps you couldn’t come forward at the time for whatever reason but now you can.”

Anyone with information can call police on 101, visit their nearest police station or email helprita@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk quoting reference 604 (7/11).

For more details related to the case, visit http://releasd.com/d89e.