POLICE have issued a fresh appeal for information into the murder of an Irvine mum - 23 years after she was bludgeoned to death.

Shona Stevens was murdered just yards from her home in Middleton Park on November 10, 1994.

Now, on the 23rd anniversary of her brutal murder, police are appealing for anyone with fresh information to come forward and help solve the cold case.

Shona, 31, lived in Alder Green with her mum Mhairi Smith and seven-year-old daughter Candice Stevens.

The day she was killed began began like any other for the family - but ultimately ended in the most brutal and horrendous way, cutting short the life of an innocent young mother.

Shona had popped to the shops at Bourtreehill. An ordinary task on an ordinary day.

As she walked along the path that ran along the back of her home she was pounced upon some time between 1pm and 1.30pm and subjected to an eight minute frenzied attack, experts said at the time.

She was just yards from her back door.

Her killer left her beaten, battered and unconscious. She was airlifted from the scene and taken to hospital but medics were unable to save her. She died three days later.

Five weeks after she was killed, Shona’s body was taken to her mother’s hometown of Portree in Skye where she was laid to rest.

Since that fateful day in 1994, so many people close to Shona and involved with the case have passed away, including Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Lauder, who was leading the case at the time.

Despite more than two decades passing by, no one has been arrested for the crime and no motive for the slaying has ever been uncovered.

In the years following her death her devastated mother Mhairi devoted her life to keeping Shona’s memory alive - and her case in the public eye.

Mhairi also spoke of how she struggled to come to terms with how brutal the attack was.

She said: “I just can’t understand why someone would do that to Shona. Those days seemed like an unreality.

“I knew it had happened but your mind is thinking it hasn’t happened. It was just horrendous and I just felt numb with it all. After Shona’s death I could not let Candice see the pain I really felt. Having her has helped me get on with my life actually.” But, unable to live so close to the murder scene, Mhairi, who had taken custody of little Candice, eventually moved back to her hometown in Skye.

In 2005 - more than 10 years after her death - Shona’s daughter, then aged 18, spoke about the impact her mother’s death had left on her.

She said: “It was like life threw a brick at my face, a 10-tonne brick. I’ve had 11 years of just going over the situation over and over again. I’ve had no peace whatsoever and am reminded constantly.

“Even if the person is caught it won’t change anything, it won’t bring her back, it won’t bring back the life that I crave so much. But at least it will give me some peace. At least the person who did this will be caught and justice will be done.” In 2011 Police Scotland announced they would be re-opening some of the country’s most brutal and high-profile unsolved cases.

As well as Shona’s murder, detectives set about solving the murder of Greenock teenager Elaine Doyle, 16, whose semi-naked body was found in a lane just 50 yards from her home in Greenock on June 2, 1986. She had been strangled as she made her way home from a disco with friends.

Following new leads since the case was re-opened, police arrested former soldier John Docherty, 50, from Dunoon, after DNA evidence found on Elaine’s body, matched Docherty’s and he was tried and convicted this year - 28 years after the murder.

Although no such hard and fast evidence has come to light in the Shona Stevens murder case, Police say they are still investigating it and urged the public to think back 20 years and come forward with any information.

Police Scotland confirmed to the Irvine Times that the Shona Stevens case was still active and urged people to cast their minds back two decades to think of any information - big or small - which might be relevant.

A spokesman said: “Police Scotland carries out periodic assessment of unresolved murder cases and as in other similar cases, the Shona Stevens murder case has been and will be under assessment at different stages.

“As always, we would welcome any new information that could assist with our investigation.

“Anyone with information can contact police via the non-emergency number 101 or alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where anonymity can be maintained.”