The sister of a sex beast who killed herself over 20 years ago after being repeatedly raped was exhumed today by police probing an historic sex abuse ring.
Tragic mum-of-three Belinda Day was 27 when she committed suicide by throwing herself from cliffs at Budleigh Salterton, Devon, in 1989.
Last year her brother Adrian ”Tommy” Dance was jailed for 21 years for a string of rapes and sexual assaults,
At the time it was not known why Belinda – known as Binny – took her own life but detectives now have evidence that she was subjected to ”sexual abuse and violent rape”.
Her brother has not yet been interviewed over the attacks but is ”one of a number” of suspects that detectives are considering.
Members of Belinda’s large and extended family may be interviewed as ”potential suspects, witnesses or victims”, according to police.
At midnight last night officers exhumed her body in a bid to obtain DNA evidence as part of the ongoing investigation.
Detective Constable Michael Chalmers, of the Devon and Cornwall Police, said that witnesses had already come forward and that ”suspects had been identified”.
He said: ”It is clear that Binny was sexually abused and violently raped over an extended period.
”We will do whatever is necessary to bring her abusers to justice.
”All potential lines of inquiry have been exhausted leading to this exhumation.”
He added: ”A number of victims have come forward and and provided testimony to specially trained officers.
”We cannot rule out Tommy Dance as he is linked to the second investigation. Potentially, he could be interviewed.”
The second youngest of 11 children, Binny was a ”popular and bubbly” woman who grew up in Budleigh Salterton, Devon.
She attended St Peter’s Church of England School before leaving for what is now Exmouth Community College.
After leaving school she moved to Exeter, where she married and became a ”full-time mother-of-three” before hurling herself from cliffs at Budleigh Salterton on March 3, 1989.
An inquest heard she had suffered problems with her then partner, but heard no evidence which suggested she had been abused.
The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide but could offer no explanation as to why she would take her own life.
Binny killed herself aged 27 when her oldest son was ten and youngest child just four.
Her brother Tommy, 54, was jailed for 21 years at Exeter Crown Court last year after admitting 14 offences, including sexual assault, four rapes, seven indecent assaults and two offences of indecency with a child.
Five other charges, which he denied, were dropped. His victims included five girls aged under 16, including one he abducted, in the 1980s and an adult woman in 1979.
The father-of-two masqueraded as a pillar of the community, and was well known for his charity work, having raised over £50,000 for children with cancer.
He took his victims to secluded spots before subjecting them to harrowing attacks telling them he would kill them if they told anyone.
Two years ago Devon and Cornwall police began an investigation codenamed ”Operation Goodrich” in which they looked into a range of historical sexual abuse.
Detective Sergeant Zoe Nowell, the deputy senior investigating officer, said: ”The initial investigation closed in July last year with the conviction of Tommy Dance for rape and sexual abuse committed in East Devon.
”The current investigation includes evidence that Binny was raped and sexually abused over an extensive period leading up to her death. Her DNA forms a potentially crucial piece of evidence.”
And at midnight last night, officers undertook the careful and sensitive task of exhuming Belinda’s body from St Peter’s Church, in Budleigh Salterton, in a bid to obtain her DNA as part of the investigation.
Detectives would not reveal the nature of the information they hoped to obtain but said the results would not be known for three to four weeks.
They said they were ”very confident” of making arrests after the profile had been compared and said family members could be ”potential suspects, witnesses or victims”.
Belinda’s body was due to be exhumed in the presence of her immediate family and local clergy, and due to be returned to her grave tomorrow.
An appeal was made for anyone who knew Belinda in the 1970s and 1980s to come forward.
She married three times and had three children, who are believed to be living around the country, and her latest husband has since moved to France.
Det Con Chalmers added: ”There are many pieces to this complex jigsaw and often people have information which may seem insignificant to them but may in fact be the missing and final piece which helps complete this puzzle.”