Woman’s body found in woodland murder probe

CORDON Police search an area near East Dean in connection with the disappearance of a missing elderly woman
CORDON Police search an area near East Dean in connection with the disappearance of a missing elderly woman

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THE body of a woman believed to have been murdered has been found in woodland on a famous estate in West Sussex.

A murder squad found the body in woodland yesterday on the Goodwood estate, Chichester, following a painstaking search.

Officers descended on the dense woodland on Wednesday to search for a 78-year-old woman, who had been reported missing.

The woman’s son, a 50-year-old man from Chichester, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of her murder and is still being quizzed by detectives.

The suspect lived with his mother in Chichester.

Officers with search dogs combed through the woodland and cordoned off areas close to Pilleygreen Hill, located between Goodwood and the village of East Dean.

The woodland is close to the luxury Goodwood Hotel and is sometimes used by joggers from the hotel’s health club.

A field next to the woodland was used for last year’s Vintage at Goodwood festival.

The missing pensioner, who has not been named by police, was reported missing on Tuesday by close friends, who became concerned after not hearing from her for several days.

Chris Potter, the wife of Goodwood councillor Henry Potter, said police worked throughout the night, shining huge lights on to the woods.

She said: ‘It’s not very nice thing to happen.

‘Driving by there, it was really quite eerie. We knew it was something serious.

‘You don’t expect this sort of thing to happen. But unfortunately the area that’s up there, there are a couple of car parks and we have had suicides before.

‘When my daughters would ride up there, I would always say don’t ride up there at night.’

Detective Chief Inspector Nick May, from Sussex Police’s Major Crime Branch, said: ‘It is too early to say yet whether this is the body of the woman we have been looking for, but early indications are that this is most likely.

‘Officers have been working tirelessly to find the victim, who was reported missing at the beginning of the week.

‘We hope that the discovery will help take the investigation further forward.’

A post mortem will be carried out in to establish a cause of death.