Half-naked mystery corpse found in England 15 years ago finally identified as Thai woman

An unidentified woman whose half-naked body was discovered on an English mountainside in 2004, creating a mystery that has captivated the region for years, has finally been identified as 36-year-old Lamduan Armitage, a Thai national who had traveled to the country to begin a new life with her British husband.

In a statement issued yesterday, North Yorkshire police confirmed the identity of the former mystery woman, whose body was discovered in a remote location on Pennine Way, a national trail in the English Yorkshire Dales, some 15 years ago.

“As a result of extensive enquiries and DNA testing with family members in Thailand, the Major Investigation Team’s Cold Case Review Unit believe the woman is Lamduan Armitage (maiden name Seekanya),” North Yorkshire police said in their statement.

Officials say they are now working with Crown Prosecution Service as well as Thai authorities to investigate Lamduan’s death. They are reportedly still working to build a picture of the deceased’s life at the various places she’s lived.

Officials say they are now working with Crown Prosecution Service as well as Thai authorities to investigate Lamduan’s death. They are reportedly still working to build a picture of the deceased’s life at the various places she’s lived.

Lamduan, who would now be 51, was discovered by hikers, who found her lying face down wearing just socks, green jeans and a ripped bra hanging from her left arm, according to British tabloid The Sun. It is believed her body was found up to three weeks after her death.

A T-shirt was reportedly found nearby, but there was no trace of her shoes. She also had a gold wedding band on her finger that was traced back to Bangkok, where she had married David Armitage in January 1991, seven months after meeting him.

That same year, the couple would move to England.

The English publication reported that the pathologist could not establish the cause of death due to “advanced decomposition.” However, they ruled out stabbing, shooting or being bludgeoned as potential methods of killing.

While authorities initially suspected hypothermia as the cause of death, police now believe Lamduan was murdered in another location then taken to the remote area to be dumped.

Husband under investigation

The Sun reports that North Yorkshire police are now investigating Lamduan’s former husband, 55-year-old David Armitage, who moved back to Thailand after telling friends and family that the wife and mother of his two children had “disappeared.”

At the time of her death, Lamduan and Armitage were living in West Dales with his parents, about 25 miles from where her body was found.

Tracked down at his home in Thailand, Armitage forcefully denied he was involved in any foul play.

“I didn’t kill my wife. Absolutely not,” he told the tabloid. “I know the inferences are there, but I’m just getting on with my life. It’s been a long time.”

Armitage now works as an English teacher at Kanchanaburi Rajabhat University in Kanchanaburi province’s Mueang district. He said that the British Embassy advised him not to discuss the case.

However, Lamduan’s 73-year-old mother, Joomsri Seekanya, told the BCC that the couple had been undergoing marital difficulties and that her daughter had called her just before she disappeared.  

“She said she had no money, not even a single penny. She said she missed home so much,” she said.

“It was a very short call. We’ve not heard from her since.”

Joomsri went on to claim that Armitage had told his own son that Lamduan had left them and returned to Thailand to marry someone else.

“A part of me hopes that it’s not my daughter. I want her to come back alive. But if it’s really her, I can finally sleep at night,” a heartbroken Joomsri told the broadcaster.

‘Lady of the Hill’

Unable to identify her, Lamduan was known only as “The Lady of the Hill” for more than a decade by police and international media.

In October of 2012, residents of the Dales’ community even raised funds for a limestone and a memorial stone to pay tribute to her, according to the Yorkshire Post.

The gravestone reads: “The Lady of the Hills found 20th Sept 2004. Name not known. Rest in Peace.”

A memorial service has reportedly been held for her every year since.

‘Can you help?’

The North Yorkshire police are now asking anyone who knew her or her family between 1991 and her September 2004 death to speak out “no matter how small or seemingly insignificant you think the information is.”

If you have any information at all, please pass it on via any of the following:

  • Information can be uploaded to the Major Incident Public Portal at mipp.police.uk
  • Telephone: 01609 643147 (put +44 before the number if calling from outside the UK) – please leave a voicemail message including contact information if requested
  • Email: ColdCaseReviewUnit@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk
  • If you would  prefer to remain anonymous, please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or go to crimestoppers-uk.org
  • Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12170002439 when providing information about this case

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