Det Supt Mike Courtiour: "Melanie suffered blunt force trauma to her head"
Detectives investigating the murder of a Wiltshire woman have revealed she had suffered "blunt force" injuries to her head.
A post-mortem examination revealed Melanie Hall, 25, had a fractured skull and injuries to her cheekbone and jaw.
Ms Hall, from Bradford Leigh, went missing from a Bath nightclub in 1996. Her bones were found in bin bags by the side of the M5 near Bristol last week.
Police said the bags had been tied with a long length of blue plastic rope.
Her remains were discovered near Thornbury in South Gloucestershire.
Speaking at the scene, Det Supt Mike Courtiour, from Avon and Somerset Police, said: "The Home Office pathologist cannot give a definite cause of death at this time.
Workmen discovered Ms Hall's bones in a bin liner in undergrowth by the M5
"We can say that Melanie suffered blunt force trauma to her head.
"She had significant injuries which consisted of a fractured skull, a fractured cheekbone and fractured jawbone."
Det Supt Courtiour speculated Ms Hall's body may have been left at the scene shortly after her death.
He added: "Her body was covered and partially wrapped in black bin bags.
"These bin bags were in fact tied up with a blue rope. This thin blue rope was wrapped around her body and tied up."
He appealed for anyone who may recognise the 4mm polypropylene rope, or had any further information to contact police.
He said: "Is this the clue that people need?"
Investigations at the scene are ongoing, and the rope is being studied by forensics experts.
Det Supt Courtiour said police were "actively pursuing a number of lines of inquiry".
Police continue to work at the scene, near Junction 14 of the M5 motorway
Investigating officers have received more than 100 calls since the discovery of Ms Hall's body on 5 October.
Despite a £10,000 reward offered for information, and her disappearance being featured on a Crimestoppers special programme, no trace of the Royal United Hospital clerical worker had been found prior to the discovery of her bones.
In March 2003 two men from the Bath area were arrested, questioned and released on police bail, but no charges were brought.
Ms Hall was last seen sitting on a stool at the edge of the dance floor at Cadillacs nightclub in Walcott Street.
Witnesses said she had argued with her surgeon boyfriend, Dr Philip Karlbaum, who left the club "upset" after seeing her dancing with another man.
Anyone with information is asked to ring the murder incident room on 0117 9455811 or call Crimestoppers.
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