Three decades have passed since Ann Ming’s beloved daughter Julie was brutally murdered.
But the pain never goes away.
“I still think about her all the time,” says Ann. “It doesn’t get any easier, you just learn to live with it.”
But Julie Hogg’s death was just the beginning of a nightmare that would see Ann taking on the might of the British legal system to put her daughter’s killer behind bars.
As the 30th anniversary of Julie’s death approaches, Ann, 73, explains how her tireless fight for justice made legal history.
November 16, 1989, started like any other day for Ann, who lived just down the road from Julie, 22.
Julie’s son Kevin, who was three, was staying with Ann and her husband Charlie overnight as Julie was going to court to apply for a leave of separation from her husband Andrew.
Around 7.30am, Ann rang Julie’s house – but nobody picked up.
Assuming her daughter had overslept, Ann called round. When Julie didn’t answer, she started to worry.
She called Julie’s brother and they broke in through the back door.
When there was no sign of Julie, Ann called the police, who suggested she had hitched a lift to London.
“But as her mother, I knew that hadn’t happened,” says Ann.
It wasn’t until four days after Julie disappeared that police sent a forensic team to investigate. Despite combing the house, they found nothing suspicious.
Weeks rolled into months.
“Kevin would cry and ask where Mummy was. It was horrible.”
Ann, from Billingham, Co Durham, tried to convince herself her daughter had run away.
“I started feeling angry. I couldn’t understand why she’d disappeared.”
In February, Julie’s husband, who worked in London, planned to move back into their house to take care of their son.
He went in to clean up fingerprint dust left by police and noticed an odd smell.
He told Ann, who called round. By this time, Julie had been missing for 80 days. As she walked inside, Ann felt sick.
“I worked in operating theatres as a nurse and I had a horrible feeling.”
Ann went into the bathroom where she noticed the bath panel was loose.
She pulled it away, revealing a horrifying sight. There, hidden under the bath was Julie’s naked body.
“It was a living nightmare,” she says.
Police did a post-mortem and nine days later arrested an acquaintance of Julie’s husband, Billy Dunlop, and charged him with murder.
Dunlop, who had a history of violent assaults, had been at a stag-do and on the way home called in to see a friend who lived next door to Julie.
When he left, he noticed Julie’s light was on and told his friend he planned to call in and say hello.
Dunlop was the last person to see Julie alive.
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.
“I was on so much medication, I barely knew what was going on,” says Ann, who suffered from post-traumatic stress after discovering Julie’s body.
The jury failed to reach a verdict, so the judge ordered a retrial. Once again, they were unable to reach a verdict and Billy Dunlop was acquitted.
“He was bragging in pubs for weeks that he’d got away with the perfect murder.”
Ann was at her lowest ebb.
“I couldn’t believe my daughter had been taken from me. I felt so guilty for all those weeks being angry at her for not calling.”
It didn’t take long for Dunlop’s violent streak to resurface and he was arrested several times over the following years.
Then in 1997, nine years after Julie’s murder, he was sentenced to seven years for grievous bodily harm after stabbing his ex-girlfriend with a carving fork and beating up her lover.
He continued to threaten his ex from prison, sending her a letter saying that when he got out, he’d do what he’d done to Julie – and kill her.
His ex took the letter to the police, but as Dunlop had been acquitted, their hands were tied. This was because of an 800-year-old law – the double jeopardy law – which states a person cannot be tried again once acquitted.
The best police could hope for was to convict him of lying under oath.
A prison officer secretly recorded Dunlop saying when he called round to Julie’s house, he’d told her about a fight he’d been in. She’d nervously laughed, which annoyed him, so he strangled her. Dunlop was convicted of perjury but sentenced to only six years.
Ann was at breaking point. She wrote to her MP, who got her an appointment with then home secretary Jack Straw.
He gave her the address of a judge on the Law Commission who she could write to.
“It was just so unjust. I wanted them to hear what I’d been through.”
The Commission recommended an amendment to the law, allowing people to be tried again if there was “new and compelling” evidence.
The amendment was approved and passed to the House of Lords – and Ann asked if she could give a speech there.
“As I stood up, I thought of Julie, and all the mothers like me in the future who otherwise might not get justice,” she says.
A few weeks later, the bill was passed. And it applied retrospectively, meaning Dunlop could be tried again.
In May 2006, Dunlop’s acquittal was quashed by the Court of Appeal. And that October – 17 years after Julie’s death – he was found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey.
“To hear the judge say Dunlop was guilty was unbelievable,” says Ann.
Dunlop, then 43, was sentenced to a minimum of 17 years.
Since Ann’s campaign, the new law has been used to secure 13 convictions, including Stephen Lawrence’s killers.
For Ann and her family, they live with the loss of their beloved Julie every day.
“I believe in life after death, so I’m sure she’ll be waiting for me.”
Parents who changed the law
Sara Payne successfully campaigned for the introduction of Sarah’s Law in 2010, after her daughter Sarah was abducted and murdered by a paedophile in 2000.
The law means anyone can formally ask the police if someone who has access to a child, such as a neighbour or family friend, has a record for child sexual offences.
The police will reveal the information confidentially to whoever can best protect the child, if they feel it is in the child’s best interests.
After eight years of lobbying politicians, Lucy Herd’s Parental Bereavement Law came into effect last year.
The law allows parents who lose a child to take two weeks’ paid leave.
Lucy’s two-year-old son Jack died after falling into a garden pond in 2010.
After the tragic accident, she discovered Jack’s father was only entitled to three days leave, one of which had to be taken on the day of his funeral.
Thanks to Clare’s Law, which was rolled out across England and Wales in 2014, people now have the right to know if their partner has a history of domestic violence.
This was the result of a five-year campaign by Michael Brown, pictured, whose daughter Clare Wood was murdered, aged 36, by her partner George Appleton.
Clare met Appleton on Facebook and was unaware of his violent past.