Skip to main content

Murder probe after body found on queen's estate

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 2:52 PM EST, Tue January 3, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police say the young woman's body has been at the site for between 1 and 4 months
  • The remains were found by a member of the public in woods on the huge estate
  • The queen and royal family spend Christmas at Sandringham
  • Buckingham Palace has not confirmed whether the queen is aware of the grisly find

London (CNN) -- Police launched a murder investigation Tuesday after a woman's body was found on Queen Elizabeth II's estate in Sandringham, in the English county of Norfolk.

Officers were alerted Sunday by a member of the public who found the remains while walking in the woods by the village of Anmer, near the town of King's Lynn, Norfolk police said.

Police said the area had been sealed off while forensic investigations are carried out.

An autopsy conducted Tuesday revealed the remains were of a young woman and had been at the site for between one and four months, police said.

The pathologist "believes it is highly unlikely the death was through natural causes," the police statement said. "There is no evidence of accidental injury, damage due to firearms or bladed weapon."

Police should have a DNA profile within the next 24 hours, the statement added.

Investigators said they would be looking at cold cases as part of the probe.

Sandringham House, at the heart of the 20,000-acre rural estate, is where the royal family traditionally gathers to celebrate Christmas. It's been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862, and is one of two private residences used by the queen. Part of the estate is a 600-acre country park open to the public.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman told CNN Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip "are in residence at Sandringham from mid-December to the end of January.

"It is a private residence, we cannot confirm whether or not the queen has been informed or not," the spokesman said, referring to the murder investigation.

Prince Philip has been recuperating at Sandringham since he was released from the hospital a week ago after having a coronary stent implanted. He attended a service at the church on the estate Monday.

Sandringham House and its gardens are open to the public from April to November.

CNN's Alexander Felton and Max Foster contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT