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Last Updated: Friday, 4 March, 2005, 08:42 GMT
Police probe nurse's snow death
Shelley Whitfield
Shelley Whitfield's body was found face down in the snow
A nurse found dead on a playing field may have frozen to death as she walked home in a snowstorm, police say.

The body of Shelley Whitfield, 21, was found behind Meadowfield sports centre in Brandon, near Durham, on Wednesday.

She was found face down in the snow a few hundred yards from her flat. She was fully clothed apart from her coat, which was found nearby.

A post-mortem examination was unable to determine how she died. Police say she may have been overcome by the cold.

Det Ch Insp Andy Reddick, of Durham Police, said: "It is possible that Shelley was overcome by the conditions. The conditions were extremely poor at night. It was extremely cold and it was snowing.

All road users are asked to check the weather forecast and road conditions before they set out
Highways Agency

"We have been told of instances where people with hypothermia have discarded their own clothing, which again is something we are looking into."

Miss Whitfield was an auxiliary nurse at the University Hospital of North Durham. Originally from Spennymoor, she had been living in a rented flat in St Agatha's Close, just a few hundred metres from where she was found.

Detectives know she was window shopping with a male friend in Durham from lunchtime on Tuesday, before stopping at The Water Hole pub in North Road at about 1330 GMT.

They left the pub at 1750 GMT so that Miss Whitfield's friend could catch a bus back to Washington.

However, police say Miss Whitfield's movements since that time are a mystery.


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