A North Yorkshire coroner recorded an open verdict on a woman whose body was found on the slopes of Pen-y-ghent and whose identity is still a mystery more than 2½ years after her death.
Geoff Fell, sitting at Skipton, officially released the body of the woman, who was found by a group of walkers descending the fellside. Her body was in a beck near Sell Gill Hole.
Left: a police artist's impression of the woman whose body was found on the Pennine Way, close to Pen-y-ghent
Mr Fell said: “We must continue to be hopeful that she can be identified.
“Meanwhile, samples of her DNA will be kept in case somebody comes forward.”
The quest to find the woman’s identity has gone across the globe. DI Pete Martin of North Yorkshire Police said: “Our efforts to put a name to this poor woman have spanned the world and will continue, but this could be our last chance to appeal for help in identifying her.
“Someone must know who this woman is and I believe there may well be someone who knows she is missing. All they have to do is call us.
“We owe it to her to find her name and to notify her family. She must have a family, friends, perhaps a partner – maybe even a child – and we need to find them. She has a name and an identity, and I need someone to come forward and restore them to this unfortunate lady.”
A post-mortem examination failed to determine the cause of the woman's death. It is thought she died about a week before the date of her discovery on 20 September 2004, and no more than three weeks earlier.
Right: police officers interview walkers close to the site of the discovery of the woman's body
Experts who examined the body say the woman was probably from an area that includes China, Korea, Thailand and the Phillipines. She was between 20 and 40, 4ft 11in and about ten stones. Her hair was dark brown and shoulder-length.
She was wearing green Marks and Spencer jeans, size 12, light-coloured socks, a white bra and black pants size 10-12. A turquoise and white horizontally striped tee-shirt, size 10-12, was found nearby.
She wore a gold ring on the third finger of her left hand. The ring is 22 carat or above and was manufactured in Thailand. Both ears were pierced, but she wore no earrings. There was no sign of any footwear, jacket or baggage.
Police believe she was a non-smoker. She had a gap at the front of her lower teeth which would have been noticeable when she smiled. From evidence of toothbrush use she was probably right-handed. The woman had a coil fitted, but had had a pregnancy in the past.
There is an indication that when she was young her growth was arrested because of a childhood disease such as measles.
As part of the investigation, the Sell Pot cave system was searched four times, including sections only accessible by skilled cave divers. Walkers using the Pennine Way and walking the Three Peaks were traced and contacted via hostels, hotels and cafes. Posters were put up throughout the area and house-to-house inquiries were made in all the villages nearby.
Witness-appeal letters, in a variety of languages, were sent to holidaymakers staying at hotels and B&Bs in the Dales.
DI Martin said: “This investigation has gone from the Yorkshire Dales to half-way round the world and we have learned so much about this lady; and yet we still cannot tell how she came to be up on the hill-side, how she met her end and, most poignant of all, just who she was.
“Someone knows her name. Now is the time for them to come forward and help us solve a mystery and end three years of uncertainty for her family.”