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Video: Investigation launched after woman’s body found in Greenstead, Colchester, with severe head and body injuries

Police at the scene of the murder in Colchester

Police at the scene of the murder in Colchester

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A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of a woman found unconscious in an estate alleyway.

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Police were called to the path, off Avon Way in Greenstead, Colchester, just before 10.40am yesterday after reports from the public of a young woman found collapsed.

Paramedics attended and gave emergency treatment but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

A police cordon was set up along the Salary Brook Trail from Britten Close to Buffett Way, and right up to an underpass linking it to Essex University. Fishermen angling in the brook were cleared from the area by police, an eyewitness said.

It is understood the woman, who had suffered serious injuries to her head and chest, was found in woodland behind Britten Close.

Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are investigating the death.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Hall, senior investigating officer, said: “We are carrying out house to house enquiries and are searching the area using the police helicopter and dog teams. I would ask anyone with any information about what happened to contact Essex Police.”

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh, Essex’s most senior officer, visited the scene yesterday afternoon.

He said: “It is of sufficient interest that I am here to support both the community and the officers.

“There is an overwhelming number of both PCSOs and officers, both uniformed and detectives, because this is a matter of concern as much to us as police as it is to the community.

“We will leave no stone unturned.”

A Britten Close resident said: “I left for work at 10.30am and it was all quiet but I got a text from my neighbour saying they couldn’t leave their flats and I was worried I wouldn’t be allowed back in.

“It’s usually quite quiet around here, I’ve lived here for 12 years and that is generally the case.

“It makes you feel uncomfortable, especially given it happened in daylight.”

Another homeowner said: “It is a common route for students to take to go to Essex University. It is used a lot, and people take their dogs for walks along there too.”

“It is quite shocking, really sad. I hope they catch whoever did it,” a third resident added.

Reverend Martin Peirce from the Greenstead Evangelical Free Church and chairman of the St Andrews, St Anne’s and Wivenhoe Neighbourhood Action Panel, said: “This is thankfully very rare.

“Until we know what happened and the motivation it is difficult to comment further, but it is almost certain to be a one-off and i would reassure the community and I don’t think there is any cause for panic.

“I am shocked and my first thoughts go to those left behind, the victim’s friends and family.”

Today’s murder is the second in Colchester in less than three months.

James Attfield, 33, was brutally stabbed 102 times close to Lower Castle Park in the town centre in the early hours of Saturday March 29.

So far his killer or killers have not been found.

Essex Police said it was not linking the two murders at this time but was keeping an open mind as the investigations continued.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Major Investigation Team on 01277 266869, Essex Police on 101 or they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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