POLICE are still no closer to catching a vicious killer who bludgeoned a young mum to death in Irvine - 24 years after the brutal crime took place.

Shona Stevens was murdered just yards from her home in Middleton Park on November 10, 1994 in a crime that shocked the whole of Ayrshire.

This week, on the 24th anniversary of her brutal murder, police still have no leads which could help them crack 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.
Anyone with information should call 101.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: "Unresolved murders are cases that are never closed. Police Scotland is fully committed to identifying the person or persons responsible for the murder of Shona Stevens, and all such unresolved murders. 

"Police Scotland works closely with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and meets regularly to review outstanding unresolved murders from across the country. Working collaboratively as the Scottish Homicide Governance Group, the potential for new investigative and forensic opportunities are regularly assessed to maximise the ability to deliver justice for grieving families.

“We would appeal to anyone who has information which could assist in such cases, including the investigation into the death of Shona Stevens, to contact police immediately via telephone number 101. Information can also be provided through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where anonymity can be maintained."