THE GIRL WHO COLLECTED KEY RINGS
New evidence has recently come to light that might explain why the three Best boys and Carol's young step-brother Paul associated key rings with Carol. There was another Carol who collected key rings.
It was Carol Hedges. She married Kevin's brother - Best. He was one of the witnesses at the trial who identified the key ring presented at trial as Carol Wilkinsonís.
Neil Best had been asked to identify it in 1979 - some eighteen months after the murder. At that time in 1979 he already knew Carol Hedges. He had also known her in 1977.
Carol Hedges lived at 13 Falkland Road - Carol Wilkinson lived for many years at 54 Thackeray Road, only a few hundred feet from Carol Hedges.
Carol Hedges had a large collection of key rings that she attached to the strap of her black handbag - and her schoolbag - just as the fish key ring was said to be attached to Carol Wilkinsonís bag. This was a fad of Carol Hedges that had gone on for several years . She was certainly collecting them in 1977. It seems likely that one of them might well have been a fish key ring - because they were so popular at the time.
The witness who has supplied this evidence said:
Q: How many of these key rings are we looking at 6, 12, 20 ?
A:On each bag?
Q:Well, how many would she have?
A:: Between ten and twenty
Q: What sort of things were on the key rings - do you remember any things that were on the key rings A:: - she collected them for ornamental reasons -
Q: Yes - well what were the ornaments?
A:: Well one was there used to be a little man with funny hair - I think she had a couple like that. I think she had a pair of scissors, I canít remember.
Q: Who gave her these key rings?
A:: Iím not quite sure. I donít know who gave her them,
Q: Did she buy them?
A:: Sometimes I think sheíd buy them, or she would cadge them off her friends.
The four youths who identified the fish key ring obtained from Steel as Carol Wilkinsonís had grown up in close proximity to Carol Hedges.
Neil Best, one of these witnesses, eventually married Carol Hedges. Carol Hedges was born in 1960. The other three youths were also her contemporaries. Terry Best was born in 1965. Paul Wilkinson was born in 1961. Brian Best was born in 1958. Carol Hedges was born on 26th September 1962. She was at school with all four of these youths - in a higher year than one of them, in a lower year than the others.
It may also be significant that Paul Wilkinson picked out a brown handbag as the one on which his sister had hung her key ring - when she habitually took her blue handbag to work. This brown bag was also identified by Brian Best as being the one with the fish key ring, whilst Neil Best said the handbag the key ring was attached to was "dark-coloured".
Carol Hedgesí handbag was black.
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