THE last name of Liz Page-Alucard was Dracula spelled backwards and almost prophetically there was a lot of blood around when the popular drugs counsellor was bludgeoned  to death at the Turning Point advice centre in Worcester in the autumn of 1989.

No-one knew why the three times married former Met police officer, a recovered addict herself, introduced the made-up appendage to her mother’s maiden name by deed poll, but it added an extra twist to a murder which initially seemed to swirl around involvement in the drugs world and the occult, but turned out to be the work of a killer trying to cover up another crime.

And that killer was Liz’s boss, David Bingham.

The pair met when she went to work part-time at the drop-in centre in Love’s Grove as an extension of the work she had been doing from her home in Suffield Close, Bransford. There, in 1986,  Liz founded a group called SHIELD – which stood for Self-Help  In Ending a Life of Dependency – and rapidly became a cornerstone of the fight against drugs in Worcestershire – someone drug addicts would trust in a world where they didn’t trust many people.

Universally liked by those she met, the 41-year-old was nevertheless a complicated character. Born in Llandridod Wells, she gained A Levels in music and French and went to Hereford teacher training college, but stayed only a term before leaving and starting at secretarial college. She then, at the age of 19, decided to join the Met Police. However that only lasted six months before she was found “unsuitable” for the job.

In the late 1970s, during the end of her first marriage and start of her second, Liz descended into a 15-year addiction to morphine and amphetamines. However, she successfully fought her demons and recovered, appearing twice on an Esther Ranzen BBC television programme about drugs usage in 1986 to talk about her own success in beating the habit.

She told viewers: “When you can wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and feel happy with yourself, you know you have won.”

Working with centre manager David Bingham at Turning Point seemed an ideal fit. A friend who knew them both said: “They were amazingly alike in what they wanted to achieve to help drug users and were both totally committed to their work.”

In fact Bingham and his wife, and Liz and her common law husband Peter Hook, often went out together socially.

So when Liz’s battered body was discovered at the locked Turning Point Centre on the morning of Saturday, October 7, 1989, Bingham was the last suspect on many people’s minds. Most assumed she had been murdered by a drug addled client or in a burglary gone wrong. But despite laying an intricate trail of deception, Bingham failed to fool the police.

The savage killing, during which Liz was battered more than a dozen times around the head and throat with a  metal jug, occurred after she refused to accept responsibility for nearly £7,000 disappearing from the centre’s funds. Money which Bingham had taken himself.

To try to confuse detectives, Bingham moved Liz’s distinctive black mini-van from the centre, locked the gates and parked it somewhere else in the city, leaving her body alone in the locked and shuttered building. It was 36 hours before she was found, during which time police twice called at the centre but, as it was locked and in darkness, assumed it was empty.

Somewhat bizarrely at his trial at Birmingham Crown Court in February 1991, 32-year-old Bingham, who lived in Stourbridge, freely admitted battering Liz to death, but claimed he only did it after severe provocation. He claimed they were arguing about the missing money and he snapped when she began taunting him about the cot death of his five-month-old son.

But by then police had laid bare his attempts at a cover-up. They found out how he got rid of his blood stained clothes, dumped Liz’s car, left an old coat under the body hoping one of the centre’s 200 clients would be blamed and then took part in the search for the body, only to “discover” it himself when accompanied by Peter Hook.

It took the jury just two-and-a half hours to reach a guilty verdict and David Bingham was jailed for life.

Afterwards a senior detective said: “Bingham was very clever. He should have been a crime writer the way he tried to cover up this murder.”