FOR six years Sarah Melia’s family has been haunted by her brutal murder.
And today, on the anniversary of her death, her heartbroken mother is appealing for her killer to hand themselves in and ease their “tormented conscience”.
Mother-of-two Ms Melia was discovered, covered in blood, at the bottom of the stairs at her home in Catherine Street West, Horwich, on January 14, 2008, by her 15-year-old daughter, Meghan, as she returned from school.
She had been stabbed to death.
Her mother, Marion Kitchen, said: “We will never get any peace from it. It is the not knowing what happened that’s the hardest. We carry on with our lives but we are haunted by the death of Sarah.
“I just wait and live in hope that the burden on the person who did it just gets too heavy for them and they have to own up. You’d think that the conscience of the person must be tormented.
“We will never lose hope. It’s the hope that keeps us going. We owe Sarah that to keep trying to get justice. She spent those last minutes of her life in horrific circumstances. Sarah didn’t deserve that. She was a nice person going about her daily life. The person responsible deserves to be caught and go to prison.”
Ms Melia’s brother Mark Kitchen, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, was charged with her murder.
The trial collapsed twice and he was cleared by a jury following a third trial.
Ms Kitchen had to give evidence against her own son three times. They have not spoken since.
The 60-year-old said: “Come on everybody, please help us. Somebody out there knows something. Whether it is the person who did it, somebody the murderer has told or someone with information, however little it is please contact police. Sarah’s children Meghan and Ethan deserve the closure, not just me.
“Every year we just wait for that magic person to pick up the phone and say they have information.”
Ms Kitchen said although her daughter is no longer here she is still a huge part of the family and she is spoken about each day.
On her birthday each year the family release balloons, sing happy birthday to her and celebrate her life with a birthday cake.
Ms Kitchen said: “You always want to be there for your children through the good and the bad and I wasn’t there that day. On the anniversary of her death I think of her all of the time but especially at 10.30am — the time she is thought to have died — so I am with her.
“She is with us every day. There is so many things I want to say to Sarah and you have to believe she hears your voice and feels your hugs.”
Ms Melia, who was 34, worked in a laundrette. Her mother said she was a loving, caring person who lived for her children.
She adored handbags and shoes.
Ms Kitchen said her daughter lives on in Meghan, now aged 21, and 17-year-old Ethan, who are a credit to her.
She added: ”Things don’t get easier, it just runs along your life. You learn to cope. It’s surprising what strength you have. Sometimes I think “oh my God she’s dead” — I just don’t think it will ever sink in.
“It’s not as raw as it was but my life just holds an emptiness. I think all of my family feel the same. There’s always something missing, that’s Sarah.”
Police said unsolved murders are constantly reviewed — and Ms Melia’s is no exception.
Martin Bottomley, who heads Greater Manchester Police 's Cold Case Review Unit, said: "Six years on from Sarah's murder we continue to remain hopeful of bringing her killer to justice.
"As a force we will always act on new information and I want to stress that it is never too late to come forward and talk to us.
"For the sake of Sarah's family, if you have information about the person responsible please contact us in absolute confidence."
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.