A heartbroken mother desperately wants justice for her “beautiful” daughter after she was brutally murdered 16 years ago.

Sarah Melia was aged just 34 when she was found with six stab wounds in her back at her home on Catherine Street West in Horwich on January 14, 2008.

She tragically left behind her two children who have never forgotten her, and Sarah still remains a part of them.

Sarah’s mum Marion Kitchen, 71, says that no matter how much time passes, it still feels as real today as it did then.

After 16 years Marion says she is still left with unanswered questions, including not understanding why the horrific attack happened.

The Bolton News: Sarah on holiday with her family in TurkeySarah on holiday with her family in Turkey

She said: “All of it is just as if it was yesterday because there is no justice.

“Sixteen years seems like a long time, but it’s not because it seems like it just happened.

Sarah is in our thoughts all the time every day.

“We can just remember the moment to the day and to the hour.

“She is still part of our family even though it’s been 16 years.

“Never in my wildest dreams did we think it would be this long without answers, because even to this day we still don’t know the reason.”

Sarah’s childhood friend Thressa Harrison, who was more like a sister, added: “We speak about her, and she comes up in our everyday conversation.

“We grew up together, and she was like a sister to me even though not by blood, and we didn’t feel like we needed to explain that.”

​When Marion and Thressa first realised what had happened they said that it was just “unbelievable”.

Thressa said: “I remember that day when a lady came knocking on my door, which was only round the corner, and she said, ‘I think you need to get down to your sister’s’.

“When I went there it was all taped off.

“There is no way that I thought she was dead.

“I thought there might have been an accident, but when I saw the tape, I thought it was something serious.”

Marion said: “Our first thoughts were with the kids and Sarah, and the sorrow and the heartache.

“And I just remember thinking ‘oh my god’ what’s happened?”

Marion and Thressa are still hopeful that there is someone out there who saw something on the date Sarah was murdered, no matter how small the details may seem.

Marion said: “All we want is for that person or anybody to come forward.

“We have searched in our minds, and we just ask why.



The Bolton News: Sarah Melia was murdered 16 years ago but nobody has ever been convicted of her killingSarah Melia was murdered 16 years ago but nobody has ever been convicted of her killing (Image: Public)“Somebody must know something.

“We always live in hope that this year will be the year, and we get deflated, and then we find hope for the next year.

“We never lose that hope and we owe it to Sarah to keep fighting for justice and closure.

“As a family we have supported each other, and talking about it has got us through it.

“Everything we do is for Sarah.”

Thressa and Marion say that Sarah "meant the world to them", and that she was quite unique and independent.

Marion said: “She meant the world to us, and the children meant the world to her, and she lived for those kids.

“If she went after something she got it and she never gave up, and she was very determined.

“She was a good person, and that makes it even harder to understand.

“She was just a mum, seeing to her children, and her job at the laundrette, and going about her everyday life.

“She had many friends, and colleagues, and she was chatty.”

Police found the murder weapon on the roof of an extension close to Sarah’s home.

Sarah’s brother Mark Kitchen was later arrested and charged with murder, but after three trials he was acquitted in 2009 and now has no contact with the family.

The murder attracted nationwide attention and featured on the BBC’s Crimewatch where a re-enactment was shared.

On the day Sarah was murdered she went to the local pharmacy and was last seen alive on CCTV at just after 10am on Lee Lane.

Every year Marion launches an appeal with The Bolton News in hopes of bringing Sarah’s killer to justice.

The family will get together on Sunday, to “celebrate” Sarah’s life as they share their memories with one another.

Detective Sergeant Clare Smith, of Greater Manchester Police's cold case unit, said: “No case is ever closed.

"We encourage anyone who thinks they may have information - no matter how big or small – to come forward and speak to us.

"We will listen to you.

Sarah’s family have been waiting for answers for 16 years and as a force, we want to help them.

“I urge anyone who has information to contact the cold case team on 0161 856 5978.”

Alternatively people can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on0800 555 111.

If you have a story and something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at jasmine.jackson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on X @JournoJasmine.