My sister Melanie Hall was found dead in a bag next to M5…here's first moment I knew something sinister had happened | The SunSeptember 27, 2023
A HEARTBROKEN mum has revealed how she knew her sister was never coming home 13 years before her body was found in a bag on the motorway.
Melanie Hall, 25, vanished without a trace after a night out in Bath in June 1996.
Her remains were tragically discovered in a bin bag on the edge of the M5 motorway in October 2009.
Despite the high-profile nature of Melanie's murder, her killer has chillingly never been found.
The lack of clues surrounding the hospital worker's death has caused her family 27 years of agony as they continue to fight for justice.
Her brutal killing has now been explored in Channel 5 documentary Body in the Bag: The Murder of Melanie Hall.
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Ahead of the show airing tomorrow, Melanie's sister Dominique told The Sun Online about her own torment at her killing.
She said: "I feel really cross that Mel lost her life and we had ours turned upside down by someone else. I wonder if they have any thought or compassion for what they have done, I doubt it.
"I feel incredibly sad for Mel, that she never got to have her life… a career, love, the joy of having children etc.
"I hate not knowing what happened. I know she had significant injuries, but I hope and pray that whatever happened it was quick for her, or that there was only one person involved not a gang or something awful like that.
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"Obviously, I have no idea what happened to her. All I know is that she was incredibly kind and trusting and I’ve often said that, because of this, she might have trusted the wrong person that night. Almost like her naivety was her own demise."
Dominique was 27 years old when her sister disappeared following a night out at Cadillacs nightclub on June 9, 1996.
She last saw Melanie at her mum and dad's home on the Friday before she vanished.
Dominique said she was in a "sisterly strop" with Melanie as her younger sibling wanted to meet up with her new boyfriend rather than stay for the BBQ.
But her resentment was quickly forgotten as she watched Melanie leave looking "pretty and happy" in a pink, flowery skirt.
Dominique said: "I can still see it now."
The alarm was raised when Melanie failed to show up to her job at the Royal United Hospital on June 11.
Mum Pat, who worked at the same hospital, had called dad Steve to report Melanie had failed to show, with Steve then ringing Dominique.
As the news trickled down, it emerged the family believed she was staying with her boyfriend, who later revealed Melanie had left the club and gone back home for the weekend.
Dominique said: "From what I remember both Mum and Dad felt from the onset that something terrible had happened.
"It wasn’t a sixth sense, but just the fact the Mel was such a home loving woman without a care in the world.
"I was more hopeful than Mum and Dad in the first few days that she may come home. I hoped she had just got into a bit of trouble and was embarrassed about coming home for a couple of days.
"However, by the end of the first week I thought she would really be missing her home comforts by now, and she was too kind to cause this sort of worry (especially to Mum), if she actually could come home.
"Also, her bank accounts and car hadn’t been touched, so it wasn’t hard to work out something was seriously wrong. And then the dread sets in – and as time goes on you go from hoping she is alive to knowing that the best outcome is probably finding a body."
A huge search was launched with police interviewing taxi drivers and thousands of clubbers.
The River Avon was also searched several times during the frantic hunt but there was no trace of Melanie.
She was legally declared dead on November 17, 2004 – leading to agony for the family as they waited for news.
Dominique said: "I don’t think my dad had any hope that Mel would walk through the front door. She’d been missing 13 years, and it was like a hole had opened up and swallowed her – no confirmed sightings of her outside the club, her bank account never touched again.
"As I mentioned previously, [my dad's] best hope was that we would one day find her body, lay her to rest and then hopefully get justice for Mel.
"Unfortunately, we never got the last bit which is why we are putting so much hope into this documentary."
Sadly, it wasn't until 13 years later when the family's worst fears were confirmed after Melanie's body was found on the M5 motorway.
A worker discovered a plastic bag containing bones while he was cleaning on the side of a slip road near Thornbury, South Gloucestershire.
Dominique said the tragic find was like "grieving all over again" after she resigned herself to the fact her sister may never be found.
A post mortem found Melanie had suffered a severe blunt trauma to her head resulting in a fractured skull, cheekbone and jaw.
She had been tied up with a blue rope, with a piece of her jewellery also found.
Although the discovery led to a new breakthrough – including a partial DNA profile – police were still no closer to catching her killer.
A number of arrests were made over the years, with cops also questioning Suzy Lamplugh's suspected killer John Cannan.
There was also link made between the murder and double killer Christopher Halliwell but this was ruled out by police.
By 2019, a total of 11 arrests had been made but no one has ever been charged with Melanie's murder.
As time goes on, Dominique has helped keep her sister's memory alive through her own three daughters.
She believes loyal Melanie would have loved her nieces "unconditionally" and been a strong female role model to them.
Dominique said: "I have my own photos of Mel in the lounge but one of my daughters has a little photo of her, in her room upstairs which is nice.
"In my quieter moments I sometimes speak to Mel in my mind and ask her to look over my girls."
The new documentary takes a fresh look at Melanie's murder in the hope of finally solving the heartbreaking case.
Dad Steve tragically tells how he wished he "didn't wake up in the morning" as each day passed without his daughter.
He adds: "But you do. You wake up and you got that little split second and you know something's wrong and then it kicks into your brain.
"And you think, 'oh yeah, it's Melanie'."
If you have any information regarding the murder of Melanie Hall, please call 101 and ask for Avon and Somerset Police and say you have information relating to Operation Denmark.
- Body in the Bag: The Murder of Melanie Hall, airing Thursday 28th September at 9pm on Channel 5.