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Preston artist’s drawing of Avenham murder scene up for national prize

Posted on - 25th September, 2018 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Avenham, Crime, History, Preston City Centre, Preston News
Joan Harrison by Mark Parkinson
The drawing, titled Joan Harrison, has been shortlisted for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize

A Preston artist’s depiction of an Avenham murder scene has been shortlisted for a national drawing prize.

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Mark Parkinson’s drawing of the Berwick Road garage where Joan Harrison’s body was found in 1975 has been shortlisted for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize.

Artist Mark grew up on the Larches and Avenham estates in the 1960s/70s. Today he is a senior lecturer in Art and Design at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The drawing, titled Joan Harrison, is the first work in a series based on Mark’s own experiences and memories of living within inner-city estates, and the effect it had on his life and the lives of others.

Read more: UCLan slip down rankings of top universities in the North West

Mark said of the drawing: “Joan Harrison’s murder was initially attributed to the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, although there is now evidence to suggest otherwise. I was a child of 11 at the time and witnessed the police investigation of the murder scene.

“This drawing does not capture the site from those times but records it as it stands today, a marker of change and a trigger for memory.”

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize is the foremost annual open exhibition for drawing in the UK. The prize winner will be announced on Wednesday 26 September in London.

Joan’s murder

Joan Harrison was a 26 year old mother-of-two when she was raped and beaten to death in 1975. She was last seen just before 10.30pm, walking into town for a late-night drink. Her body was found two days later in the garage.

Three years later police received letters from a man saying he was the Yorkshire Ripper, claiming Joan as his victim: “Up to number eight now, you say seven but remember Preston 1975, get about a bit you know.” Crime scene evidence later ruled Sutcliffe out of the investigation.

Then in 2008 sex offender Christopher Smith wrote a deathbed confession to Joan’s murder. The note was recovered after his death, and police later matched his DNA from a drink-driving offence with that taken from the 1975 crime scene. Lancashire Police confirmed in 2011 that they had closed the file on Joan.

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