Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 16:39 UK

Head on beach was migrant worker

Forensic officer on beach
The woman's head and hands were found on Tuesday

The woman whose severed head and hands were found on a beach in Angus was a migrant worker, police have confirmed.

The 36-year-old foreign national, who was living in Brechin, had been reported missing by her employer.

A flat in Earlsdon House in the town's Southesk Street has been sealed off by Tayside Police officers, who spent the day searching the property.

Two young sisters discovered the head in a plastic bag at Arbroath on Tuesday. Police later found two hands.

A coastguard crew member also found possible human remains along the coast at Carnoustie on Wednesday. They are being examined by police in Dundee.

The building being searched in Brechin was known to house migrant workers from Eastern Europe.

Police said the woman, whose identity was established after hundreds of calls from the public, had been in the UK for about 18 months.

Establishing the identity of this woman is the first step in a very complex and detailed inquiry
Det Ch Insp Graham McMillan

She was working as a casual labourer.

Police said a "phenomenal" response from the public led to the identification of the woman, whose relatives are being traced.

Officers are trying to reach her family to inform them of her death.

Det Ch Insp Graham McMillan, who is leading the inquiry, said: "We will be speaking to a number of people over the course of the day in a bid to establish the woman's last known movements, when she was last seen, and to establish the circumstances of her death.

"Establishing the identity of this woman is the first step in a very complex and detailed inquiry."

He urged anyone with information to get in touch.

Local worker Andrew Stephen said: "When I came in to work the back garden was cordoned off and now the whole house has been taped off.

"I would say people are quite shocked. It's not too nice at all.

"It is a very quiet place and you don't expect this on your front door."

Circular scar

Lorna Pattison, who works in a florists across the road from the property, said: "At the moment there's lots of police activity and the building is cordoned off.

"It's horrendous. It's just making me feel sick, something like that happening right across the road."

Police issued a description of the victim on Wednesday.

She was white, with brown eyes and shoulder-length brown hair.

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

At that time the woman did not match any local missing person cases, so Tayside Police had been liaising with forces across the UK, as well as checking national and international databases.

The Angus area, which lies between Dundee and Montrose on the east coast of Scotland, is popular with Eastern Europeans seeking jobs in the fruit-picking industries and other labouring work.

Last year there were an estimated 4,000 migrant workers in the region.


video and audio news
What is known about the human remains



SEE ALSO
Beach head had 'distinctive' scar
02 Apr 08 |  Tayside and Central
Body parts hunt 'like jigsaw puzzle'
02 Apr 08 |  Tayside and Central
Children find human head on beach
01 Apr 08 |  Tayside and Central

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