Who was Ann Heron and what happened to her?

ANN Heron was brutally murdered in her own home back in 1990.

But who was she and what happened on that tragic day?

Who was Ann Heron?

Ann Heron was born Mary Ann O’Neill on March 24, 1946, in Glasgow, Scotland.

She then relocated to England in the 1980s, where she began a relationship with Peter Heron.

Peter Heron was married when the pair first met and already had three children – but the pair began an affair and in 1986 he divorced his wife and married Ann.

The couple lived together in Aeolian House on the outskirts of Darlington, County Durham.

Ann Heron was murdered in her home on the outskirts of Darlington, County Durham

Ann Heron was murdered in her home on the outskirts of Darlington, County Durham

Peter worked as a company director of a haulage firm and Ann had a part-time job working as a care assistant at a local care home.

What happened to Ann Heron?

On the morning of August 3, 1990, Ann went about her day as she usually would.

She went shopping in Darlington with a friend before returning home around lunchtime.

Peter and Ann had a routine, which involved Peter always returning home for his lunch – and he did so on that particular day.

Whilst Peter was enjoying his lunch break, Ann said that she was going to spend the afternoon in the back garden making the most of the 1990 heatwave – and the hottest day of the year.

Peter then left to go back to work at around 2pm, and just half an hour later, a friend of Ann’s spoke to her on the phone – which she recalled as a happy and cheerful conversation.

At 3:30pm a friend on a passing bus saw Ann sunbathing in her bikini in front of the house – she had been forced to move to the front of the house to sunbathe, as a tractor nearby had been blowing grass towards the back garden.

This was the last known sighting of Ann alive.

At around 6pm, Peter returned home from work to find the front door open and the couples dog outside.

As he entered the house he discovered Ann’s radio was still on, along with her book and cigarettes. 

He then found Ann’s body in the living room area of the house, where she was lying in a pool of blood and had suffered a stab wound to her neck.

Her bikini bottoms had been removed, which indicated that it may have been a sexually motivated killing.

One week after the murder, it was discovered that 55-year-old Peter was having an affair at the time with a 32-year-old barmaid at the local spa club – leading some to suspect that he may have had a motive to kill Ann.

Mr Heron provided an alibi and colleagues confirmed he had been at work a mile away when Ann died.

Just three years after her death, Peter Heron remarried – and for years he was at the forefront of suspicion.

In 2005 he was charged with the murder of his wife, but in 2006 all charges were dropped.

No-one has ever been tried or convicted for Ann’s horrific murder – and the case remains unsolved.

Was Ann Heron married?

Anne had been married twice.

She first married Ralph Cockburn, however the pair later separated and Anne moved to England.

In 1986, she married her second husband, Peter Heron – the same year he divorced his first wife.

Did Ann Heron have any children?

Anne was the mother to three children, Anne-Marie, Michael and Ralph Jnr who she shared with her first husband, Ralph Cockburn.

She was also a step-mother to her second husband, Peter Heron’s children.

In 2020, her son Ralph made an emotional public appeal in hopes of gathering information about the death of his mother.

The former detective said:

“Someone out there must know who did this to my mum and, more importantly, why.

“After all this time, we still do not know who did this to mum, and why they did it. If someone knows who did this and is withholding vital evidence, then I would urge them to rethink where their loyalties lie and do the right thing so my sister and I can finally get justice for mum.”

He then added: “Mum was loved by everyone who knew her and nobody had a bad word to say about her. She was the softest person you could ever meet and loved animals and children.

“She has five grandchildren, three of which she never got the chance to meet, and four great-grandchildren that she has also never met. I think that is the saddest part, as she never got the chance to see them grow up.

“You watch these things happen on TV and think that it will never happen to you, but it did. And somebody out there knows who did it, and why.”