Students help detectives in 1970s cold case murder investigation

By Graeme Ogston
BBC Scotland Tayside and Central reporter

image captionMhairi Anderson, Nesha Dixon and Amy Morrison are among the students helping the murder investigation

An unsolved 1970s case of a headless woman's body found bound in jute and wrapped in a Dundee factory's plastic sheet is being investigated by students in the city.

Forensic psychology students at Abertay University are helping murder detectives working on the 1974 cold case of the body found in Norfolk.

The woman's hands were bound with string only manufactured in Dundee.

The students are scouring 1970s local reports of missing people for clues.

The woman's badly decomposed body was found in East Anglia wrapped in a National Cash Registers' (NCR) plastic sheet and clothed in a pink Marks and Spencer's nightdress.

Norfolk Constabulary, which has named the case Operation Monton, exhumed the woman's body in 2008 and obtained DNA samples.

They have traced and eliminated 470 women from across the UK who were reported missing during the 1970s.

No detailed records

Officers said the rope manufacturer went out of business many years ago and detailed police records do not date back as far as 1974.

image copyrightNorfolk Police
image captionThe woman's hands were bound with string only manufactured in Dundee.

Twelve students from the university are examining newspapers including the Dundee Courier and Evening Telegraph from January 1973 to January 1975.

Dr Penny Woolnough, a lecturer in forensic psychology at Abertay University, said: "Her body was wrapped in a dust sheet that connects with factories in Dundee at the time.

"The students have been reviewing local papers to see if there are any missing people or particular clues or circumstances dating back to those times that could connect to the case."

image copyrightNorfolk Police
image captionThe woman was found wrapped up in a National Cash Registers embossed plastic sheet

Student Amy Morrison said: "It's really exciting to get an opportunity to get involved in a murder case. It's high-profile and because it's a cold case we're gaining a lot of knowledge."

Insp Marc Lorente from Police Scotland said: "The student support to this long-term investigation is an integral part of ongoing inquiries.

"We are delighted to be working in partnership with Abertay University, and to be making good use of the students' excellent knowledge and skills base."

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