Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 17:26 UK

Beach head had 'distinctive' scar

Police officers shield forensic officers on Arbroath beach in Angus, where the severed head of a woman has been found
The head and two hands were found on an Arbroath beach

Police have issued a description of the woman whose severed head was found by two young sisters on a beach in Angus.

The head was discovered wrapped in a plastic bag on Tuesday morning on the seafront at Arbroath. Police later found two hands.

The victim was a white European, in her mid twenties to mid thirties, with brown hair and eyes, police said.

She had a distinctive circular scar on her forehead with light freckles over her cheeks and the bridge of her nose.

Main priority

Police have said that, unusual for a woman of her age, her ears were not pierced.

Det Ch Insp Graham McMillan, who is leading the investigation, said that finding the woman's identity was a main priority.

"That's a key line of investigation for us now," he said.

"Whilst we are continuing our inquiries here we need the assistance of everyone to help us identify this woman, which will hopefully lead us to the cause of death."

A number of scientific tests will be carried out on the body parts, including DNA extraction and examination of the bones, to establish a more exact age of the victim.

Officers will also look at dental records to try to identify the woman.

DCI McMillan
DCI McMillan said that finding the woman's identity was a main priority.

Two sisters, aged eight and 11, found the head while playing on the beach.

Local councillor Jim Millar has spoken to their mother.

"The family are very traumatised by the event," he said.

"The children who made the discovery are very frightened by it.

"I've spoken with the mother who is also very upset and her first concern is for her children.

"Yet she still expressed concern and regret for the murdered woman and her family."

The beach was cordoned off following the discovery of the body parts but it has since reopened.

Det Ch Insp McMillan said: "We have conducted further searches of the beach area.

"There is nothing of significance that has been found as a result of that and hence the reason the cordon has been removed and the search teams stood down."

Det Ch Insp McMillan added that they are carrying out door-to-door inquiries and checking national and international databases.

The woman does not match the records of any local missing person.

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