LOSING a loved one in violent circumstances is devastating.

For some, the pain gets easier after the perpetrators are brought to justice.

But not every murder has a cut and dried solution, meaning cases can remain unsolved for years or even decades.

Last week, an inquest into the death of Bulgarian national Denis Petkov heard police were unable to establish who had inflicted a fatal stab wound.

It left Denis’ mother, Diana Petkova, shattered. She said: “I have no faith in the British justice system.”

One man who knows all about the misery caused by unsolved murder cases is retired Det Supt Simon Dinsdale.

Mr Dinsdale formerly headed up the Rayleigh Major Investigation Team and helped to finally bring rapist Wayne Doherty to justice for the 27-year-old murder of Rochford shopkeeper Norah Trott.

“It really does stick in your craw,” he said. “You don’t like it as a police officer and the force doesn’t like it either.

“The cases that are unsolved are always on a rota to be looked at- it’s true that they are never closed.

“But the older they get the less often they will be looked at and it often comes down to forensic possibilities.

“Unless someone comes forward and says ‘I did it’ then the opportunities are limited.”

The Petkov case joins a backlog of unsolved murders committed in Essex in the past three years.

Today, the Echo is making a fresh appeal for anyone with information about them, or older cases, to come forward.

They include the deaths of Angela Millington, found on Foulness Island in 2014, Albert Williams, beaten to death in Southend in 2015 and Ladi Benson, who was stabbed in Chelmsford.

Detectives are also still probing the deaths of gangster John “Goldfinger” Palmer, gunned down at his Brentwood home in June 2015 and drug dealer Chris May, from Kelvedon, who disappeared in May 2015.

Mr Dinsdale said cold case review teams periodically look over old files to see if new information has come to light or if allegiances between suspects have changed.

He said a lot of hard work will be going on “behind the scenes” and victims’ families should not lose hope.

He added: “Just this week they were able to identify someone who died on 9/11 because of advances in forensics.

“I do know that they are rushed off their feet, like everybody is, but they do the absolute best they can.”

Ivy Davies

Mr Dinsdale said he still bitterly regrets the few murder cases he was unable to solve.

Of the 30 live or cold case investigations he oversaw during his career, just three remain open.

One of them is the February 1975 murder of Westcliff cafe owner Ivy Davies, who was battered to death at her home in Holland Road.

Mr Dinsdale reviewed the case in 2005 and arrested a 68-year-old Basildon man on suspicion of her murder. The man was later released without charge.

“I feel sorry for Ivy’s family,” he said. “It’s sad that more than 40 years later we can’t close the case. I would have loved to have solved it for them.”

Ivy owned the Orange Tree cafe in Western Esplanade and had featured in the Evening Echo six months previously as part of a feature on seafront businesses.

Her body was found on her sofa by her daughter and a neighbour on February 4 when she failed to turn up for work.

Ivy’s skull had been shattered by a steel pry bar and there was a ligature around her neck.

Police took more than 900 statements and interviewed several people but never found enough evidence to tie anyone to the scene.

Mr Dinsdale said the arrest was made after a tip-off. As part of the new re-investigation, officers recovered a blood-stained carpet that had been stored in a neighbour’s attic since the killing.

He said: “There was a semen stain found on the carpet but it wasn’t a match for anybody. It may not even have been relevant. But with forensic advances it could still be important in the future.”

Mr Dinsdale did have a huge success in 2005 with the investigation into the murder of 63-year-old Norah Trott, a case that had been unsolved for 27 years.

Her killer, Wayne Doherty, is currently serving a 23-year sentence.

Norah ran a dress shop and was found bloodied and beaten by garages near to her Rochford home.

Doherty was snared by DNA evidence.

Can you help police end misery for victim's families?

These are some of Essex's most recent unsolved murder cases, along with two long-standingmysteries:

Ladi Benson

WESTCLIFF shop owner Ladi Benson, 27, was stabbed to death in Chelmsford in November 2015.

Mr Benson, a father-of-two, ran a shoe and clothes shop called Numero 88, in Princes Street.

An inquest last year heard his friends have refused to cooperate with the police.

Albert Williams

ALBERT Williams , 67, was found dead in his cramped flat in Cedar Close, Southend, on August 8, 2015.

He had been stamped on, strangled and set on fire. Two men were cleared of his murder in December - but jailed for eight-and-a-half-years each for a violent burglary at his home seven days before his death.

Denis Petkov

BULGARIAN national Denis Petkov, 19, died from a single stab wound to his neck in East Hanningfield Road, Rettendon, on March 11 this year.

A 39-year-old man was charged with his murder but the case was dropped due to lack of evidence amid claims that he had acted in self defence.

Angela Millington

THE body of homeless Angela Millington, 33, from Southend, was discovered on Foulness Island in June 2014, but DNA results did not identify her until more than a month later.

A mask of gaffer tape was around her face.

A 66-year-old Eastwood man was arrested but not charged.

John Palmer

JOHN Palmer, nicknamed Goldfinger because of his links to the £26m Brink’s-Mat gold bullion robbery at Heathrow in 1983, was shot at his South Weald home on June 24, 2015.

There are thought to about 16,000 people with a potential motive because of his timeshare scams, but organised criminals are also suspected.

Chris May

DRUG dealer Chris May, 28, disappeared after visiting his dad in Mount Road, Coggeshall, at around 9.45am on May 25, 2015.

Police are treating the case as a murder even though his body has never been found.

Two men were arrested but later released.

Nicola Ray

NICOLA Ray, 30, a mum-of-two, disappeared following a night out with friends in the early hours of May 2, 2000.

She has not been seen since, and her case became one of Basildon’s most well-known and saddest unsolved cases.

A 47-year-old man was arrested but not charged over her murder.

Ron Fuller

RON Fuller, 30, was shot several times by a lone motorcyclist as he left his house in Parkside, Grays, at 7.45am on August 29, 2000.

Ron had been working as a doorman at Epping Forest Country Club and had been arrested for public order offences following the fatal stabbing of gangster’s son Darren Pearman.

Anyone with information about any of the cases featured can call Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.