POLICE investigating the 20-year-old murder of a pregnant Worcester woman brutally stabbed on the M50 announced a new forensic review of the evidence today - only to change their mind hours later.

West Mercia Constabulary issued a statement at noon promising 'a forensic review' would be carried out into the brutal killing of Marie Wilks later this year, who was stabbed to death in June 1988 after breaking down on the motorway.

The announcement was immediately reported by national news organisations across England and Wales.

However, an hour-and-a-half ago a spokesman for the force denied a new investiation was being launched to mark the 20th anniversary of the Mrs Wilks's death.

Instead she said that the force regularly reviewed cold cases and appealed for new information.

The 22-year-old mother from Warndon was seven months pregnant when she had gone for help after her car broke down.

She had left her 11-year-old sister Georgina and baby son Mark in the car to make the call, having just returned from a day out in Wales to visit her husband Adrian who was on a weekend camp with the Army cadets.

As she used a motorway callbox her killer struck.

Many people will still remember the haunting image of the handpiece she left dangling on its cord.

At first, Mrs Wilks was abducted and forced into a car. She was severly beaten and stabbed in the neck.

Her body was eventually discovered a day later in thick scrub at the bottom of an embankment by the side of the carriageway, three miles from where she had phoned.

Four days later police thought they had caught their man. Nightclub owner Eddie Browning was arrested outside a club in the Rhondda Valley, Mid-Glamorgan.

A car similar to his had been seen near to where she had been abducted.

Browning, a former Welsh guardsman, stood trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court in October 1989 and told the judge on the day she had been killed, he had driven from his home in Wales to Scotland to see a friend, but had not used that motorway.

The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a recommended 25 years minimum term.

Browning appealed, and on his second attempt in 1994 it was successful on the grounds that police failed to release a witness video interview to the defence which could have affected the outcome of the original case.

He walked free and picked up over £600,000 compensation - leaving the case "unsolved".

Mrs Wilks had attended Christopher Whitehead High School - now Christopher Whitehead Language College in St John's and her parents, Terry and Sylvia Gough lived in Dines Green.

A spokesman for the police said the information originally released today was given in good faith and a senior officer updated them with the current situation.

They added: "West Mercia Constabulary never closes an undetected major crime file. If new information comes to light regarding Marie Wilkes' murder we will investigate it.

"A cold case review is not planned at the moment.

"We are always keen to hear from anyone who has information for police which they haven't previously reported to us.

"West Mercia Constabulary can be contacted on 08457 444888 and anonymous calls can be made to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111."