Detectives believe the origins of a novelty keyring toy may be able to help crack a historic murder case in North Ayrshire.
Shona Stevens, 31, was found fatally injured on a footpath near to the rear of Alder Green in the Bourtreehill Park area of Irvine on November 10, 1994.
The mum-of-one sustained serious head injuries and died in hospital days later.
As part of a recent review into the murder case, investigating officers believe a plastic toy found at the scene of the crime during the initial forensic examination “may be of significance”.
Police said the item “could have come off a novelty keyring”.
Detective inspector Fraser Normansell, of Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team, said: “We know the item didn’t belong to Shona and, while we can’t be sure of its origins, we believe it may hold significance to this case.
“Although it was found almost 27 years ago, it’s very distinctive and could prove vital to our enquiries. I’m urging anyone with information to come forward and help us get justice for Shona.”
Shortly after 1pm on the day Ms Stevens was attacked she attended the Co-op store within Bourtreehill Shopping Centre before leaving on foot.
She was last seen alone around 1.10pm on Towerlands Road and was then discovered approximately 200 yards from her home, within a wooded area, around 1.20pm.
DI Normansell added: “I’m asking anyone who believes they recognise this item or who has any information, no matter how small, to please get in touch.
“We are committed to getting Shona’s devastated family the answers they deserve.”
If you have any information, submit it via this online portal or call the dedicated inquiry team on 01563 505172. Information can also be passed on anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.