Fear and guilt have dogged one woman for almost 20 years after the tragic murder of her brother.

In a special interview, the woman, who wishes to be referred to as Rebecca, details the traumatic experience and told how being able to communicate with the murderer has helped her sleep at night.

Close to 20 years ago, Rebecca and her family were given the devastating news that her brother had been murdered.

She said: “He was so intelligent; we were so close we did everything together. At the time I felt so angry and it was such a loss.

“I felt guilty – I had given him the money to go out with his friends. I blamed myself: if only I’d not given him the money.”

At the time the family was offered the chance to contact the killer, but chose not to go down that route. However, after years of guilt and the need for answers, Rebecca felt she needed to find a way to get those answers.

She reached out to the charity Remedi, after she heard from the probation service, to ask the offender questions.

Remedi, which provides restorative justice services, arranged contact between Rebecca and the offender via third-person contact and letters.

The organisation was established in 1996 with the simple aim of offering victims of crime the opportunity to engage in a restorative intervention with the person responsible.

From the initial start point as a small project working in partnership with the Sheffield Probation Service, Remedi has expanded significantly across the UK and works in partnership with the eight Youth Offending Teams and the Offices of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Cumbria, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Humberside, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire and Cheshire.

When Rebecca's brother's killer was up for probation Rebecca felt it was time to ask some of the difficult questions so that she would be able to let go of the fear she had been harbouring all these years.

She said: “I felt safe with how it worked, and he was showing some remorse and he gave me the closure I needed.

“I wish I had done it years ago; I feel empowered.”

Cumbria's police commissioner Peter McCall said: “Serious crimes must go through the traditional justice system but restorative justice can also play a part in this, providing answers to the victim or the victim’s family and the perpetrator getting a better understanding about how their acts have affected someone else.”