Mystery woman found dead in Yorkshire Dales “may have been Thai bride”, say police

An artist's drawing of the woman whose body was found in the Yorkshire Dales.

A mystery woman whose body was found on a remote Yorkshire Dales hillside may have been brought to the UK as a mail order bride, cold case investigators say.

The woman’s remains were discovered by walkers in a stream near Pen-y-ghent in 2004.

Cold case investigators now believe it was likely she was killed and brought to the location in Ribblesdale in a 4×4.

The woman has never been identified but is believed to be aged between 25 and 35 and originally from south east Asia.

Police believe she may have lived in north Lancashire or south Cumbria.

She was found in a stream next to Sell Gill Hole on The Pennine Way above Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

The location where the woman’s body was found near the Pennine Way.

The location was more than a mile (2km) from the nearest road, wearing only jeans and socks, on 20 September.

Despite a global police investigation and extensive forensic tests, her identity remains a mystery.

Detectives believe the woman may have had a child.

A post-mortem examination was unable to establish the cause of her death but suggested she died between 31 August and 13 September that year.

Adam Harland, manager of the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Police cold case review team, said there was no evidence of a “markedly violent death” but it was possible she had been suffocated.

The woman’s body was found near the Pennine Way above Horton-in-Ribbledale.

He said: “We believe that she was brought here by vehicle and the hypothesis we prefer is that she was dead when she was brought here, that she has been killed somewhere else, possibly in her own home.”

He said forensic investigations revealed the woman grew up in a “tropical” country, such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia or Vietnam.

Tests on her hair suggested she may have lived in north Lancashire or south Cumbria, and had been in the UK for at least two years.

“The lady is possibly some sort of Thai bride,” he said.

“Not meaning that she comes from Thailand, but she is a lady who has taken up a relationship with a white gentleman, and come back to the UK.

“That would probably mean that her partner is older than her, quite likely has led a more solitary individual life prior to their relationship taking place.”

“Whoever her partner was in the last days of her life is the person we’d like to speak to.”