Murdered Laura 'was strangled'

Missing 18-year-old Laura Torn, whose body was found in a field following her disappearance last month, was strangled to death, police said today.

The teenager's body was discovered off a rough farm track near the village of Misson in Nottinghamshire shortly before 6pm yesterday.

Police have not yet formally identified the body but said that they believe it to be Laura.

A post mortem examination carried out today by Home Office pathologist Dr Phillip Lumbon at the Medico Legal Centre in Sheffield showed she had died of strangulation.

A Humberside police spokeswoman said: "The post mortem concluded that the female died as a result of injuries consistent with strangulation."

Earlier the spokeswoman said: "At this stage, the body has not been formally identified, but police do believe that it is missing 18-year-old Laura Torn."

Missing items

She said that a number of items of property belonging to Laura believed to be in her possession when she disappeared had yet to be


"Police are appealing to the public to keep an eye out for the missing items in case they have been dumped somewhere," she said.

The missing items are a Sony mobile telephone, a silver watch with a purple face, one large silver hooped earring and a denim handbag with a floral-patterned shoulder strap.

Laura's family were today being comforted by specially trained police officers at their home in Owston Ferry, North Lincolnshire.

Laura was last seen in the isolated village's market square after leaving the Crooked Billet pub in the early hours of April 27.

The discovery of the body yesterday came after a 10-day search by Humberside Police of a five-mile stretch of the River Trent running through the village and of the surrounding countryside.

Last week, a black boot belonging to Laura was discovered on the riverbank.

Arrested man named locally

A 31-year-old local man arrested on suspicion of Laura's murder was still being questioned by police today after Scunthorpe magistrates granted an extension of custody time. The man was named locally today as 31-year-old Guy Beckett.

Police can now hold him until 6.30am tomorrow.

Body found in haystack

The body of the missing teenager was discovered in a haystack, police said later.

Detective Inspector Steve Clay of Humberside police said Laura's body was found by two detectives searching the area who were acting on intelligence.

He said the haystack was one of many within a 10 mile radius of Owston Ferry being checked by police.

Mr Clay said: "A member of Owston Ferry community said something specifically for us to start searching haystacks three days ago."

He said the body which had been placed between two haystacks and covered over with straw had been subjected of a degree of decomposing leading police to believe it had been there for more than a week.

Mr Clay said the body which was fully clothed except for one boot which was discovered in the river Trent in Owston Ferry a week ago, had not been sexually assaulted.

"There is no suggestion that she was sexually assaulted," he said.

Vehicle used

Mr Clay added that he believed Laura had been taken to the spot where she was found in a vehicle.

"I would suggest the body was brought by vehicle to the haystack because it would be virtually impossible to carry Laura that distance down an isolated lane.

"I would think Laura met her death elsewhere."

Mr Clay said the police investigation would now focus on the recovery of Laura's personal belongings believed to have been in her possession on the night she went missing.

He said: "Whoever murdered Laura and dumped her body here will have disposed of her personal belongings fairly nearby.

"I can imagine a scenario where they were thrown from a window into a nearby ditch or waterway. They could be anywhere round here or near where she was last seen in Owston Ferry."

Forensic experts were resuming their fingertip search of the area.

Mounted officers were also assisting in the search.

Mr Clay said Laura's parents were distraught at the news but were also relieved that the waiting was over.

In a statement issued by Humberside Police, Peter and Heather Torn said: "We are devastated by the news and we are struggling to take it in and come to terms with it. It is a difficult time and we just do not know what to say."

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