Police appeal over body found off Chesil Beach

SCENE: The view from Chesil Beach

VARIABLE TIDES: Dave Pitman of the Weymouth and Portland Licenced Fishermens and Boatsmens Association

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

AN appeal has been launched to identify a woman’s body found off Chesil Beach.

Dorset Police are asking the public for help to identify the woman’s body, which was discovered in the sea on Wednesday evening.

A post-mortem has been conducted on the body and the cause of the woman’s death is as yet ‘unascertained’, but Dorset Police said there was ‘no evidence’ of a suspicious death.

It is believed she may have been spotted along the coast in recent weeks but police are keeping an open mind.

Police have released a description of the deceased. She is described as a middle to late-middle-aged woman, 5ft 4ins tall and of slim build – about size 10 to 12 – with brown, greying straight hair. Her left ear had been pierced twice.

A Dorset Police spokesman said that the deceased was ‘partially clothed in blue leggings, black socks and black trainers with a distinct bright pink sole.’ Dorset Police said the body may have been in the water for several weeks and are keen to speak to anyone who may have found women’s clothing while out walking Dorset’s coastal paths. Fishermen have told the Echo that determining where her body came from would be ‘extremely difficult’ due to winds, tides and other factors.

Weymouth and Portland Licensed Fishermen's and Boatmen's Association chairman Dave Pitman said this year that the tides and winds had been very variable.

He added: “The trouble is we have had a lot of wind from all different quarters. It’s not an exact science. It depends how long the body has been in the water.”

Chris Wason, a Lyme Regis fisherman and vice chairman of the South West Inshore Fishermen's Association said: “It’s not only tide but direction of wind and how long the body’s been in the sea. It’s very difficult. It’s extremely difficult. It could have come from anywhere.”

Coastguards were alerted to the woman’s body floating off Chesil Beach on Wednesday at 6.24pm by a local fisherman.

Portland Helicopter was sent to the area to investigate and confirm the sighting before Lyme Regis lifeboat recovered the body from Chesil Cove.

Detective Inspector Stewart Dipple, of Weymouth CID, said that officers were investigating the circumstances of the death and urged members of the public to get in touch if they recognised the description of the woman.

He said: “We are working hard to identify the woman and are investigating the circumstances of how she came to be in the water. I would ask anyone who recognises the description to contact police.”

DI Dipple added: “Also, I urge anyone who may have seen her movements along the coast during the past two months as it is believed that the body has been in the sea for several weeks.

“I am particularly interested to talk to anyone who uses the coastal paths and may have discovered discarded women’s clothing.”

Anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.

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