CALLS for police to re-open the investigation into the murder of Stourbridge newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater have been initiated following a Channel 4 documentary.

The 13-year-old, from Wordsley, was shot dead at Yew Tree Farm, off the A449, on September 19, 1978, when he disturbed burglars while delivering a newspaper to the house.

Four men, who became known as the Bridgewater Four, were initially tried and found guilty of the murder, but after almost two decades in prison their convictions were overturned.

The crime has remained unsolved for almost another 20 years, but the documentary ‘Interview With a Murderer’ which aired last night (Sunday), saw former suspect Bert Spencer speak out for the first time.

Spencer, an ambulance officer who claims he was working at Corbett Hospital in Stourbridge on the day of the murder, has consistently denied being the killer.

A close neighbour of the Bridgewaters for years – Spencer became a prime suspect because he owned a pale blue Vauxhall Viva and wore a dark blue uniform, which resembled descriptions given by a witness who had seen someone driving into the farm, but police ruled him out due to a ‘cast-iron’ alibi provided by his secretary.

The documentary was a result of six months of research and interviews by Professor David Wilson, a criminologist at Birmingham City University, who had been invited to speak to Spencer at his home by his biographer - Bridgnorth author Simon Golding.

Opening the documentary, Spencer - looking directly at the camera - said: “I did not kill Carl Bridgewater, and I am here to prove to you that I did not.”

But Janet Spencer, speaking for the first time on record in 40 years, told programme-makers she believed her former spouse could have been the killer - and rejected his alibi of being at work all day, saying he was ill.

Mr Spencer admits his whereabouts for the whole day of the murder cannot be corroborated but says it can be shown he was at work at 4.30pm, the time Carl is believed to have been shot.

When Prof Wilson asked Janet: “Would it surprise you if the truth was Bert Spencer, your ex-husband, killed Carl Bridgewater?” she replied: “No, it wouldn’t.”

He then asked if she suspected her ex-husband was the murderer, to which she replied: “It’s hard to say but deep down yes, I probably, I do."

She said re-opening the case into Carl’s death was “the only course of action now”.

Spencer’s daughter, meanwhile, believes her father is innocent but that he may have inadvertently stumbled across the crime scene at Yew Tree Farm and may know more than he's ever let on.

The documentary, made by ITN Productions in association with Monster Films, also sees Spencer, who spent 15 years in jail for the shotgun killing of friend Hubert Wilkes, speaking for the first time about that incident - which bears an uncanny similarity to the Carl Bridgewater murder.

Now aged 77, Spencer has vociferously denied the allegations that he was responsible for the teenager's death and he told programme-makers: “I will never, ever be a scapegoat for the murder of Carl Bridgewater."

Channel 4 commissioning editor Rob Coldstream said the film was commissioned as a documentary capturing encounters between one of Britain's leading criminologists and a man repeatedly suspected of involvement with the death of Carl Bridgewater and it "did not set out to exonerate or incriminate Bert Spencer".

He said: "The murder of Carl Bridgewater remains one of the most horrifying crimes to go unsolved. Carl's family, the family of Hubert Wilkes and the men who were wrongly imprisoned for more than 20 years have suffered unimaginable grief so when Bert Spencer, who has been continuously accused of the crime, offered to speak on the record for the first time in more than two decades, we felt it was an important opportunity to potentially shed new light on this case.

"We could not have foreseen the startling new revelations which have unfolded in the course of making it."

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said after the airing of the TV show: "The matter is not currently under investigation. However, police will review the investigation in light of any new information or evidence being made available."