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DNA hope in Birmingham mum’s 1996 murder

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Surinder Kaur Varyapraj was divorced and lived alone

Police investigating the 1996 murder of a mum of three say DNA has been found that could help catch her killer.

Surinder Kaur Varyapraj, 36, was last seen outside her Birmingham home on 4 January, but her decomposed body was not found in a bedroom until 5 March.

Detectives, who have not been able to match the DNA profile to anyone on their databases, want to trace a man who lived nearby.

They say they believe the answer “lies within the community”.

‘High-pitched scream’

Ms Varyapraj’s body was discovered in her home in Church Hill Road, Handsworth after a shopkeeper reported concerns she had not been seen for several weeks.

She had been strangled with some sort of ligature, the force said.

Neighbours told detectives at the time that they heard loud banging noises before midnight on 5 February as well as a “brief high-pitched scream”.

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Police said broken windows were found at her home and a chair was placed outside a bathroom window

Ms Varyapraj was divorced and lived alone as her children, a boy aged 14 and two girls aged 15 and 12 at the time, lived with her ex-husband.

Since the DNA was uncovered, several people have been eliminated from the original enquiry, but detectives said they now wished to trace the man who lived near Ms Varyapraj.

Sab Johal, an investigator on the force’s cold case review team, said the man mentioned by witnesses drove a Jaguar XJS, with the partial registration RAJ.

“He was believed to rent a room in Vicarage Road, Handsworth, however, the man was never identified.

“We think someone may know who he is or remember the car.”

He urged people who think they know who the man is to come forward, adding that identities could be protected, and also appealed for the man himself to get in touch.

“If you are that person and you were not involved in the death of Surinder, you can come forward and be eliminated through DNA comparison.”

He added: “This was an horrific act and we are still doing all we can to deliver justice for the family of Surinder.”

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