Corstorphine body: Crimewatch response hailed

DCI Keith Hardie appeared on Crimewatch. Picture: Jane Barlow
DCI Keith Hardie appeared on Crimewatch. Picture: Jane Barlow
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police investigating the murder of a woman whose dismembered body was found on Corstorphine Hill today said they had had a “fantastic” response to a televised appeal for information.

Detective Chief Inspector Keith Hardie, who is leading the inquiry, appeared on the BBC’s Crimewatch Roadshow programme last night to make a fresh appeal for help in identifying the woman whose remains were discovered in a shallow grave by a cyclist two weeks ago.

Officers on the case will now sift through the information received from the public, hoping for the vital breakthrough that could help them solve the mystery.

Meanwhile, DCI Hardie said four distinctive rings found on the body could have been placed there as a diversion.

A claddagh ring, which has Irish Catholic connections and is popular among travellers, has been hailed as a potential lead in the investigation. Three other rings, one shaped like a flower, were also found on the body.

But speaking after the Crimewatch appeal, Mr Hardie said he was not convinced the victim was an Irish traveller, or that the rings were necessarily relevant.

He said: “I can’t rule out the possibility that those responsible put the rings on her to distract us.

“We’ve got established links with the travelling community – that’s one of many strands of the inquiry. It’s a possibility, because of the ring, but I would not make it a priority.”

Following earlier appeals for information, 11 potential names were put forward for the victim, but all have now been traced safe and well. A further nine women fitting the victim’s profile have been suggested by the UK Missing Persons Bureau, but five of them have been ruled out.

Detectives are now contacting relatives of the other four missing persons.

Mr Hardie said: “We’ve got four packages going down to forces where individuals have been reported missing.

“They’re going to try to take that to their next of kin.”

The packages will include details of the extensive cosmetic dentistry the victim had received – four implants and six veneers, estimated to have cost thousands of pounds.

Police hope the dental work will be key to helping them identify her.

Police are also trying to trace the owner of a grey or gold Renault Scenic that was seen parked in Corstorphine Road, near the entrance to Corstorphine Hill, on two separate occasions in April, at about 10pm.

Mr Hardie said officers had spoken to hotels in the surrounding area, contacted police in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, and put an appeal out through Europol. Some 10,000 leaflets have been distributed to the public, appealing for information.

The dead woman is described as being white, between 32 and 60 years old, with fair hair and about 5ft 2in tall. She could have been buried between one and six months ago. Anyone with information can call Police Scotland on 101.