A COUPLE researching details of their ancestors discovered a brutal and unsolved Bournemouth murder at the heart of their family tree.

Michael and Sylvia Burman were shocked to find out details of Rose Lifely’s violent death and have now voiced their hope that the murder will one day be solved.

Spinster Miss Lifely, who was stabbed to death in her Northcote Road home in 1971, was Michael’s great aunt. He said: “We were not close to that part of the family and I vaguely remember being told about her death and hearing about it on the news.

“Now that I am researching the family tree I wanted to find out more and it is very sad to think about how she died.”

He and Sylvia, who live in Hythe, said they hope advances in forensic techniques will mean that one day Miss Lifely’s killer will be identified.

“The person who killed her could be dead by now but it is still important to find out who it was,” added Sylvia. “Even now, more than 40 years later, we hope to prompt someone’s memory or prick someone’s conscience – you never know.”

The murder was not the only surprise for the couple, who are conducting the research for their grandchildren.

They also discovered that a great uncle died on the Titanic and that another family member found someone hanged in their outside toilet.

“It is absolutely fascinating,” said Michael. “I think every family would be surprised if they looked at their family tree.”

Rose Lifely was 73-years-old when she was stabbed to death in her own home. Her death prompted the biggest police probe in the town’s history and, despite the attraction of a £1,000 reward, her killer was never identified.

Police believed the killer lived in the local area and was shielded by a friend or family member after the murder. They thought the killer broke into her home to steal and repeatedly stabbed her when she challenged him.