Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Jones' body has never been recovered
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 18, 2001
Date of birth: February 21, 1958
Victim profile: His niece Danielle Jones, 15
Method of murder: ???
Location: East Tilbury, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life in prison (minimum 20 years) on December 19, 2002

photo gallery


Stuart Campbell (born 1958) was a builder who was convicted in December 2002 for the kidnap and murder of his niece Danielle Jones, 15. but lost an appeal on January 21st 2005.

She disappeared on 18th June 2001 while walking to a bus stop in East Tilbury, Essex, where she lived. Her body has never been recovered, and Campbell has always maintained his innocence.

It is unusual to prosecute for murder in the UK without a body, but police did find a pair of blood stained stockings in his home, the DNA of which matched both Campbell and Danielle. This evidence was enough to convince the police that Danielle Jones was dead and that Stuart Campbell was responsible for her death.

In his diary, which police used in evidence, Campbell revealed an obsession with teenage girls. Campbell also claimed Danielle had text messaged him, but evidence from mobile phone masts shows that when she supposedly texted him his mobile phone was in the same place as hers, evidence that he had taken her mobile, and used it to text his own. His own mobile phone also disproved his alibi that at the time he was in a D-I-Y store half an hour's drive away in Rayleigh.

In one 20 minute interview with the police he said "no comment" to 50 questions, causing the police to describe him as uncooperative. A police superintendent said to the BBC that "he developed a relationship with Danielle that was certainly inappropriate and probably unlawful. She apparently tried to disengage herself, but he resisted."

At the end of his trial, Campbell was convicted of murder and abduction. He received a life sentence on the murder charge and a 10-year fixed sentence on the abduction charge, although it is still unknown how many years he must serve in custody before being considered for parole. It was then revealed that Campbell was known to pose as a photographer to take photos of teenage girls in parks.

In 1976 he was sentenced to 4 years in prison for robbing a 16 year old girl in the street, while in 1989 he was given a 12 month suspended sentence for forcibly detaining a 14 year old girl in his house and taking photos of her in a karate outfit.


The murder of Danielle Jones was an English murder case where no body was found and the conviction relied upon forensic authorship analysis of text messages sent on the victim's mobile phone.

Jones' uncle Stuart Campbell, a builder, was convicted in December 2002 of abducting and murdering Jones (16 October 1985 - c.18 June 2001), and lost an appeal in January 2005.

Jones' body has never been recovered, and Campbell has always maintained his innocence. After the trial, controversy arose when it was revealed that Campbell had prior convictions for indecent assault on other girls of similar ages. The use of forensic authorship analysis of text messages in the case provoked research into its use in other cases.

Disappearance and investigation

Jones was last seen in East Tilbury, Essex, on 18 June 2001, while walking to a bus stop.

Suspicion fell on Campbell almost immediately who was first arrested on 23 June 2001, five days after Jones went missing. Detectives had delayed his arrest whilst weighing the possibility of endangering Jones' life, on the presumption that she was still alive, against the possibility of Campbell leading the police to her.

During police interviews Campbell was described as "uncooperative" In one 20 minute interview with the police Campbell refused to comment on 50 questions.

The investigation included several appeals to the public for information, including a reconstruction on the BBC television programme Crimewatch UK. During the investigation, over 900 police officers and support staff searched over 1500 locations for Jones' body.

Murder trial

The police who investigated Jones' disappearance were convinced within two months of her disappearance that she had been murdered. A police superintendent said to the BBC that Campbell "developed a relationship with Danielle that was certainly inappropriate and probably unlawful." Jones apparently tried to disengage, but Campbell resisted.

By 14 November 2001 the Crown Prosecution Service decided that the police had enough evidence to prosecute Campbell for murder even though it would be harder to secure a conviction without a body.

In October 2002, Campbell went on trial for abduction and murder. The trial was unusual in the UK as prosecutions for murder without a body are rare. The Crown's case rested upon several pieces of evidence.

Jones had disappeared without contacting her parents and had been seen talking to a man in a blue Ford Transit van resembling Campbell's on the morning of her disappearance. The testing of blood-stained stockings had found Jones' DNA and Campbell's DNA on the stockings, lip gloss used by Jones was also found in Campbell's home.

A diary kept by Campbell revealed an obsession with teenage girls, with testimonies that Campbell had manipulated young girls into posing for topless photographs. Mobile Switching Center records demonstrated that Campbell's alibi of being at a D-I-Y store half an hour away in Rayleigh was false, and that Campbell's and Jones' mobile phones had been within the range of a single mobile phone mast at the time that a text message had been purportedly sent by Jones to Campbell.

This along with forensic authorship analysis indicated that Campbell had written the message, not Jones, implying that Campbell had sent the message to himself using Jones' phone to make it appear that she was still alive.

Campbell was found guilty of both charges on 19 December 2002 and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder to run concurrently with a 10-year sentence for abduction. No recommended minimum term was reported at the trial, and there have been no reports since as to whether the High Court has decided upon Campbell's minimum sentence.

Aftermath of the trial

After his trial, it was revealed that in 1989 Campbell was given a 12 month suspended sentence for forcibly detaining a 14 year old girl in his house and taking indecent photographs of her.

The use of text messaging evidence in the trial inspired a group of researchers at the University of Leicester to begin studying text messaging styles, in the belief that research into the forensic authorship analysis of such things would help with further criminal cases.

In 2004, Campbell was granted leave to appeal his conviction, on the grounds that evidence of his obsession with Jones and of his interest in schoolgirls should have been excluded at his trial and on the grounds that one of the jurors should have been discharged because they were the next door neighbour of a police officer involved in the case. The appeal was dismissed In 2005 by the Court of Appeal.

On 28 July 2005, an inquest by the coroner was held into Jones' disappearance, returning a verdict of unlawful killing. Interim, police interviews with Campbell in prison, regarding the location of Jones' body, reported that Campbell had not had anything to say regarding the location of Jones' body.

Other cases

Contrast between this case and the murder of Hannah Williams have been drawn, citing the disparity in news media coverage of the two as an example of missing white woman syndrome.

Jewkes cites the media coverage of the Jones case as an example of the news media's eroticization of the victim in such cases, pointing to the news media's reports of the "inappropriate" (i.e. abusive) sexual relationship between victim and murderer, and the news media's publication of photographs of the victim's stockings.


Operation Spinnaker: The search for Danielle Jones

The disappearance of teenager Danielle Jones on June 18, 2001, sparked the launch of Operation Spinnaker - the largest investigation ever undertaken in Essex Police's history.

Danielle Jones, 15, was last seen on Monday, June 18, 2001, when she left her home in East Tilbury to catch the bus to St Clere's School in Stanford le Hope. Her walk from her home to the bus stop would normally take just five minutes and she had been seen walking some of the way by other school pupils.

A girl matching her description was seen getting into a blue Transit-style van along part of her route to the bus stop. Initially started as a missing persons inquiry, fears grew for Danielle, who was described as a 'normal' girl who had not had any recent family arguments or problems at school.

On Thursday June 21, 2001, Detective Superintendent Peter Coltman was appointed to lead the investigation. Considerable inquiries had already been made into where Danielle might be, including interviewing friends and family members. It was the absence of any information or sightings that, in the main were causing alarm.

Within 24 hours of a senior investigating officer being appointed the inquiry built up speed rapidly. Searches were being carried out, information was coming in and a picture of Danielle's life was emerging.

Danielle's uncle Stuart Campbell was arrested at midnight on June 22 on suspicion of her abduction and released on police bail on June 25. While the investigative work was being progressed with real urgency, a further line of inquiry needed developing. This was the search for witnesses and appeals to the public.

The first press conference, held with Danielle's parents Linda and Tony Jones, gave the first indication of the huge interest that this investigation would generate and of the huge pressure that it would create. Inspector Alan Cook was appointed as a dedicated media spokesman to cope with the demand for media interviews.

Publication of Danielle's photograph generated hundreds of reported sightings, all of which had to be investigated. The scale of the response from the public risked a vital piece of information being hidden within mountains of genuine, well-intended messages and reports.

Meanwhile the search operation was far in excess of anything Essex Police had undertaken before and required the design of a system and database to manage it.
Members of the Essex Police Search Team were joined by colleagues from other forces and organisations, which on some days amounted to more than 100 personnel actively searching.

A large public search of open land in Tilbury was organised and more than 500 members of the local community helped.This community spirit was maintained, throughout the investigation, with regular meetings of community representatives and police.

Advice was sought from police colleagues by the investigating team and based upon significant research into similar incidents it was probable that Danielle was dead. Stuart Campbell was arrested on the basis of new evidence and following lengthy interview was charged with a number of serious offences and remanded in custody. Nevertheless, the hard work of sifting through information, analysing data and interviewing potential witnesses continued.

The Crown Prosecution Service was consulted about progress and offered good advice. One area that was becoming increasingly important was the possibility of a murder charge, even if Danielle's body could not be found. The case law on such a position was clear and set a high threshold of proof.

Mobile phone records led to Stuart Campbell being tracked down as her killer, said Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Chris McCann. Mr McCann, the head of the Trials Unit at Essex CPS said: "With the advancement in modern forensic techniques we are all used to cases where DNA points to the killer and the chances of it being someone other than the defendant are put at millions to one.

"While forensic evidence is useful, it is rarely the only evidence against someone.

"In the case against Campbell, the evidence was so powerful that I was convinced when I reviewed the case it was strong enough to put before a jury, even without any forensic evidence.

"Mobile phone records showed calls made by Campbell using Danielle's phone.

"These calls were received by his mobile phone in the crucial time after she went missing.

"It was this information which pinpointed him as the chief suspect and placed him in the dock."

Stuart Campbell was charged on November 14, 2001, with the murder of Danielle Jones. He was convicted at Chelmsford Crown Court on December 19, 2002 for the murder and abduction of his niece and sentenced to life imprisonment. He has since given notice of appeal.

Nearly 1000 Essex police personnel were engaged at various times on the investigation. The deployment of such large numbers of resources was a massive task. There were 8,336 police actions and 1,489 statements.

Danielle's body has never been found, nor any of the items she was wearing the day she disappeared. Her school bag and mobile phone are also still missing.

Essex Police Internet Unit, 2008.


Uncle with a secret obsession

Thursday, 19 December, 2002

For years, Stuart Campbell hid his secret from other members of the family.

He was fascinated by teenage girls, and eventually his interest turned to his 15-year-old niece, Danielle.

She had no reason to fear the man she knew only as her uncle, a trusted member of the family.

But in reality he was a sexual predator, prepared to betray that trust and take her life.

"He developed a relationship with Danielle that was certainly inappropriate and probably unlawful," says Detective Superintendent Peter Coltman.

"She apparently tried to disengage herself, but he resisted."

Danielle was last seen near her home in East Tilbury, on her way to catch the bus she took to school.

She was seen with a man who drove a blue van. Stuart Campbell, a builder, had just such a vehicle and quickly became the focus of police attention.

At that stage, however, there was nothing else to connect him with Danielle's disappearance.

Detectives faced a dilemma. They could arrest the builder and bring him in for questioning. Or they could wait and watch, in the hope he would lead them to Danielle.

"In the context of a belief that Danielle was still alive, and being held against her will, this was an extremely difficult decision," recalls Mr Coltman.

"Would such action locate Danielle, or could it put her life in danger?"

White stockings

He decided to arrest Campbell, but any hopes that this would result in Danielle being reunited with her parents were quickly dashed.

When they searched his house, detectives found a canvas bag in the loft.

It contained a pair of white stockings, stained with blood. DNA tests showed a match for both Danielle and Campbell.

There was also a diary detailing his contact with the girl, camera equipment, and material of a paedophile nature.

Even without a body, police were by now in little doubt that they were dealing with a case of abduction and murder.

Danielle's parents, who had been clinging to the hope their daughter was alive, had to face the fact that she had been killed by her uncle.

As the search for Danielle's body continued, detectives were learning more about Campbell's interest in teenage girls.

He used to approach them in the street, posing as a photographer, and invite them into his home.

It emerged after the trial that Campbell was given a 12-month suspended sentence jail term in 1989 after holding a 14-year-old girl at his home and photographing her in a karate suit.

He had originally been charged with abducting the girl and taking indecent pictures of her - that charge was dropped after he admitted to taking a child without lawful authority.

In 1976 he was given a four-year jail term after being convicted of robbing a 16-year-old girl in the street.

Campbell continued to insist he knew nothing of Danielle's disappearance, but his devious nature proved to be his undoing.

Text message

He said that on the morning Danielle disappeared he was miles away at a DIY store in Rayleigh. But his mobile phone showed this to be a lie.

He then claimed that Danielle had sent him a text message after she disappeared, saying she was in trouble at home. The message read:


But Danielle used to write her messages in lower case letters, and this message was all in capitals.

Detectives were convinced Campbell had sent the text message to himself...and to do that, he must have had Danielle's phone.

The sequence of events that led up to Danielle's death is still a matter of speculation.

There is evidence that she become uneasy about his constant attention, and was trying to keep her distance.

Tragically, she was unable to escape his obsession.

'Grieve properly'

The investigation into the disappearance and murder of Danielle Jones is the biggest operation ever undertaken by Essex Police. It has cost 1.7m.

Reluctantly, detectives have now called off the search for her body, but they stress that any new information will lead to the investigation being re-opened.

Behind bars, Stuart Campbell can expect an early visit from Essex Police, trying to provide some comfort for Danielle's parents.

"I will seek to re-interview Campbell," says Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Reynolds, the head of the force's crime division.

"I will appeal to him to co-operate so Tony and Linda Jones can at least have a funeral service for Danielle and grieve properly.

"I am determined to find her body."



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