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Last Updated: Monday, 13 June, 2005, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Hunt for pregnant woman's killer
Hayley Richards, right, with her niece Charlotte Green
Hayley Richards, right, with her niece Charlotte Green
An international manhunt is under way after a pregnant 23-year-old was murdered in her Wiltshire home.

Hayley Jane Richards' body was found at her home in Trowbridge after she failed to turn up for work on Saturday.

Police are liaising with Interpol to find her Portuguese ex-boyfriend Hugo Quintas who is believed to have left the UK for Portugal.

Ms Richards was murdered a week after being the victim of an alleged attack, which had been reported to police.

Hayley was a beautiful young woman, she hurt no-one and was loved by all
Paul Richards

Ms Richards' brother Paul said police had told the family Mr Quintas would be questioned in connection with the alleged assault, which also happened in her own home, but there had been a delay over an interpreter.

Supt Peter Russ, of Wiltshire Police, confirmed officers had been investigating the previous alleged assault, but no arrest had been made.

The force has also decided to refer the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Supt Russ said: "We are very keen to trace and interview Hugo Quintas and are currently liaising with Interpol, as well as Portuguese law enforcement agencies."

He added police were "keeping an open mind and investigating all relevant lines of inquiry".

Family tribute

In a statement issued on behalf of the Richards family, Paul Richards said: "Hayley was a beautiful young woman, she hurt no-one and was loved by all.

"She was always there when required, no matter what was asked of her.

"The family are in a deep, deep state of shock."

Ms Richards' body was discovered on Saturday afternoon.

Worried relatives contacted police after she failed to turn up for work and attempts to get in touch with her failed.

They had last seen her just before midnight on Friday.

Det Ch Insp Kevin Capstick said on Sunday that detectives were still awaiting the results of a post mortem examination, but added that it was "clear a physical attack took place".

'Unusual' crime

He added that forensic examinations were continuing at the property and also at another address in Seymour Court in the town.

Supt Russ also sought to reassure residents, saying it was "a most unusual crime" for Trowbridge.

"Any murder in the community causes distress and uncertainty, and when the victim is as well-known and as liked as Hayley was, these feelings are increased," he said.

"Our thoughts are obviously with Hayley's family and friends, and also the wider community."

Domestic violence charity Refuge has criticised Wiltshire Police over its handling of the case.

The group's chief executive Sandra Horley said: "This is a shocking example of inadequate police response in a domestic violence case.

"Clearly the police have a duty under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act to protect Miss Richards and her unborn baby. "It appears that Wiltshire Police had sufficient evidence to make an arrest, but sadly they failed to do so - had they done, Miss Richards may well be alive today."

See police investigating the murder

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