Corstorphine remains: police have number of leads

POLICE investigating the murder of a woman whose body was found in Corstorphine woods today revealed they were following up dozens of potential leads from around the UK.

Police at  Corstorphine Hill where a body. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Police at Corstorphine Hill where a body. Picture: Ian Rutherford

They spoke as the cordon around Corstorphine Hill that has been enforced since a woman’s dismembered body was found last Thursday has been lifted.

Several new lines of inquiry are now being worked through by officers, while it is understood that possible names of the victim have also been handed over to police for examination.

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Lead investigator DCI Keith Hardie said “a lot” of information had been received from UK-wide sources just 24 hours after issuing a public appeal for people to question the whereabouts of friends, colleagues or family who “had recently fallen off the radar”.

Police at Corstorphine Hill where a body. Picture: Ian Rutherford

He said: “I am very pleased with the response we have had, with a number of lines of inquiry now being looked into. People from across the UK have made contact with us and I appreciate the support we are getting from the public.”

The News told yesterday how the severed body of a mystery woman – aged between 30 and 50 – was

discovered by a cyclist who spotted a head protruding from a shallow grave on a clearing at Corstorphine Hill.

Two distinctive gold rings – one designed like a daisy and the other shaped like a heart – are believed to be vital to identifying the woman, who also had expensive cosmetic veneers fitted to her teeth.

Picture: Greg Macvean

She was also said to be short, of slim build, with blonde or light brown hair. Despite being dismembered, police said that they were “satisfied” all of the limbs had been recovered from the burial site, not far from Corstorphine Road – one of Edinburgh’s busiest thoroughfares.

It is hoped forensic examination of the rings and the burial site will expose new areas of investigation, with images of the gold jewellery expected to be released next week.

Today, DCI Hardie reissued his call for information, saying: “Until we identify her, I repeat my appeal for people to consider if there is a woman who fits this description whom they have not seen for a number of months – perhaps not this year. If you have concerns about such a woman, please come forward and let us know.”

Chief Inspector Murray Dykes, of Police Scotland Edinburgh Division, said: “Although inquiries on the hill have finished, my officers will still be carrying out high visibility patrols to reassure local residents and other members of the public. This is a highly unusual incident and Corstorphine, and Edinburgh, are safe places to live and work.”

Unravelling tragic victim’s profile

LITTLE is known about the murdered woman other than the clues left at the crime scene.

But with seemingly high-calibre gold rings and a “expensive”, “professionally done” dental veneers, it could be suggested she is from an affluent background.

Police believe she is aged between 30 and 50, and were referring to her as “middle-aged” during yesterday’s press conference at Fettes.

She is said to be white, slim and of medium build. Short in height, she is thought to have blonde or light brown hair.

There are no distinguishing features such as tattoos or piercings.

Detectives refused to be drawn on whether the body was clothed or naked when discovered by a resting cyclist last Thursday.

A DNA profile of the victim has been completed but fails to match any records on the missing person’s register.

Police said friends, colleagues or relatives may have received a convincing explanation that she was “off the radar” due to work commitments in England or had travelled abroad which could account for her disappearance not raising suspicion.

Detective Chief Inspector Keith Hardie of the Specialist Crime Division’s Major Investigation Team, said: “I feel confident that someone will recognise the description of the lady’s teeth and the rings, together with the general description of a slim middle-aged lady who has disappeared.

“We are building up a profile of this individual in the hope we can identify her and take this investigation forward.”