Second funeral for unknown woman found near Sutton Bank

The final journey - the body of the unknown woman is reburied at Malton Cemetery after samples were taken for DNA profiling. (s)
The final journey - the body of the unknown woman is reburied at Malton Cemetery after samples were taken for DNA profiling. (s)
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The remains of a woman whose identity has baffled detectives for 30 years were once again laid to rest.

The body of the woman dubbed the Nude in the Nettles had been exhumed in the hope that advances in DNA technology will solve the mystery which has spanned a generation.

officers from North Yorkshire Police were at the woman’s graveside in Malton Cemetery for the ceremony conducted by the force’s chaplain, the Rev Simon Rudkin.

Prayers were said to “comfort those who still grieve for this woman with no knowledge of her end” as the woman’s remains were buried in a new coffin with the plaque from the original casket.

The woman was originally laid to rest in the cemetery in 1983 after an 18-month investigation failed to establish her identity or the cause of her death.

She had been dead for up to two years when her skeleton was found after a well-spoken man called North Yorkshire Police but refused to give his name on the grounds of “national security”.

The Rev Rudkin, 60, admitted yesterday that it was the first time he had led such a service, and added: “God loves her even if we don’t know who she was.

The service was held inside the forensic tent where the exhumation took place, and police officers laid a wreath which simply said: “May you rest in peace.”

Before the body was returned to the cemetery, it was taken to a mortuary where samples were taken from the thigh bone and the ankle bone.

Samples have been sent to the Forensic Science Service at Wetherby for analysis to obtain a DNA profile and results are expected in about four weeks.

A police spokeswoman confirmed more than 10 calls had been received following coverage of the exhumation from families who believe the deceased may be their relative or members of the public offering information.

She stressed detectives still needed to find the anonymous caller who contacted police on August 28, 1981, to report the body.

Head of North Yorkshire Police’s major crime unit, Det Supt Lewis Raw, claimed the exhumation had been carried out “efficiently and with dignity”.