POLICE have released an image of the face of a woman murdered, dismembered, and dumped in a shallow grave in the hope of finally identifying her.
Detectives hope the image, created by experts at Dundee University using facial reconstruction techniques, will jog the memory of someone who knew the victim.
They are increasingly convinced that the woman has not yet been reported missing, almost four weeks after her remains were discovered in Edinburgh.
Although she was initially described as aged 32 to 60, police now believe she was probably between 40 and 50. She is white and believed to be from western Europe, including the UK and Ireland.
Police have not ruled out the possibility that she comes from a travelling community, after first making that connection through four rings found on the body, including a Claddagh ring, which is popular among Irish Catholics.
She had also had extensive cosmetic dentistry – £10,000 to £15,000 worth of work carried out over up to 15 visits.
Detective Chief Inspector Keith Hardie, who is leading the investigation, said: “We hope this might lead to that one important person picking up the phone and giving us a name. “We have had 14 named individuals and traced them all safe and well, so people are phoning in.
“If anyone out there has any concerns about a friend, neighbour or work colleague – even if you have had a plausible excuse or a text message – if you have any doubts, and the facial reconstruction, rings and dentistry ring a bell, call us immediately.”
The image was based on a CT scan of the woman’s head. The experts have not been able to establish eye colour, and are uncertain about hair style and length.
However, Mr Hardie urged people to focus on the physical features of the woman’s face, which police believe to be highly accurate. She has also been described as fair-haired and about 5ft 2ins tall. Her badly decomposed body was found on 6 June, on Corstorphine Hill.
Without identifying the victim, police have been hampered in their attempts to locate her killer or killers.
Detectives have had calls from the public claiming to have seen people carrying spades, rucksacks or suitcases in the area, and have tried to trace the owners of a Renault Scenic seen twice near Corstorphine Hill, but their main focus at present is on finding out who the victim was.
They have spoken to staff at local hotels to see whether the woman may have been a tourist, and are also liaising with dentists to see if they can find the person who carried out the work. Mr Hardie has also made a nationwide appeal on the BBC’s Crimewatch.
He added: “We have had good cooperation with contacts in the travelling community. I am now more confident that this person has not been reported missing.”