Police release pair held after woman’s death

Police at the flat where the body was found
Police at the flat where the body was found

Attacker followed his victim for a mile before assault in city alleyway

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POLICE have called off a murder probe into the death of a woman found dead in a seafront flat.

The body of Cheryl Holtham, 36, was discovered in a flat in Norfolk Crescent, Hayling Island, last Thursday night.

A murder inquiry was initially launched and two men were arrested on suspicion of killing her.

However, the two men aged 39 and 42, from Hayling Island, have been released without charge and police have now ruled out murder.

A post-mortem on the body of Mrs Holtham did not indicate she had been killed, but police are still trying to work out how she met her death.

Mrs Holtham was an alcoholic and had been homeless since December 2009 when she was evicted from her flat by Fareham Borough Council. She had repeatedly broken the terms of an ASBO which had been brought by police to stop her drunken violence.

Following the eviction she persuaded residents of Norfolk Crescent – a once grand Regency building on Hayling seafront – to let her sleep on their sofas.

Her body was discovered at 8pm in the flat of a male resident.

Kerstin Mordant, a spokeswoman for Hampshire Police, said: ‘The result of the post mortem is undetermined, but does not support murder. Further tests will be carried out to establish the exact cause of the woman’s death.’

However, detectives have not ruled out they might need to question other people.

Mrs Mordant added: ‘As the investigation is still ongoing, we cannot rule out looking for anyone else in relation to the death. I think this will become clearer once further tests give more clarity.’