Essex

Colchester murder: Religious hate crime a line of inquiry

  • 18 June 2014
  • From the section Essex
Police car
Police are carrying out "reassurance patrols" in the Greenstead area while the investigation continues

A woman found killed in Colchester could have been "targeted because of her religion", police said.

Essex Police say the woman, found on a footpath off Avon Way, is believed to have been a Saudi Arabian national studying at the University of Essex.

The victim was found in clothes that "identified her as likely being a Muslim", police said.

Officers said there was no evidence of it being a religious hate crime but it was "one of the main lines" of inquiry.

Formal identification of the woman has yet to be carried out.

It is believed a knife was used in the attack on Tuesday.

A 52-year-old man, arrested in connection with the murder investigation, is being questioned.

Police say formal identification of the woman has not yet been carried out

Det Supt Tracy Hawkings said: "We are obviously as concerned as the rest of the community about this murder.

"We are... conscious that the dress of the victim will have identified her as likely being a Muslim and this is one of the main lines of the investigation.

"But... there is no firm evidence at this time that she was targeted because of her religion."

Det Supt Hawkings added: "We urgently need to speak to anyone who saw a woman in her early thirties walking through the Greenstead estate yesterday morning."

The woman is believed to have left her home in Woodrow Way and then walked down across Avon Way on to the Salary Brook Trail.

She was wearing a dark navy blue full-length robe and a patterned multi-coloured headscarf, police said.

The Saudi Arabian Embassy confirmed that Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, ambassador to the UK, had contacted the woman's family. The woman had a brother living in the UK, the embassy added.

Det Supt Hawkings added: "We urgently need to speak to anyone who saw a woman in her early thirties walking through the Greenstead estate yesterday morning.

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