Student's murder linked to other similar killings


MURDER squads around Britain were preparing to join forces this week in a bid to find the killer of the 19 year old French student, Celine Figard.

Detectives probing her death are investigating possible links with up to nine other murders.

Ms Figard's naked body was found in a wood off the A449 road near Worcester on Friday, 13 days after she disappeared while on her way to spend Christmas with relatives in Hampshire.

The officer in charge of the case, Chief Supt John McCammont of West Mercia police, said: "There are several cases around the country which are well known, where naked women have been found adjacent to major roads with similar injuries.

"These are things we are looking at. We are in contact with officers from other forces and indeed from our own force.

"There is one case in particular where the deceased was picked up at a service station - that is Tracy Turner. We will be looking at that case."

Ms Turner (32) was last seen alive at a service station on the M6 in Staffordshire in March.

Her naked body was found in a ditch near Bitteswell in Leicestershire.

Officers met at the West Mercia Police headquarters earlier this year to discuss the possibility of a connection between up to nine similar murders in the Midlands and nearby counties.

A number of the murders had been ascribed to a killer dubbed "the Midlands Ripper".

Detectives admitted there were similarities between the deaths, but dismissed any formal links.

Officers said yesterday they had not found any item connected with Ms Figard near the lay by where her body was found.

Her clothing was not located and her suitcase and rucksack are still missing.

There are now 88 officers from three forces working on the case, from West Mercia, where the body was found, Thames Valley, where the victim was last seen alive, and Hampshire, where the investigation began.

Officers are still looking for the white Mercedes lorry which Ms Figard was seen getting into at Chieveley service station.

Mr McCammont said it was not clear whether Ms Figard died days before she was found or just before her body was dumped. He would not discuss the results of forensic tests or any information received on the route of the lorry once it left the service station.

He said he was confident the lorry driver would be found.

He added: "In due course we will be seeing all the drivers that drive these kind of vehicles and we are confident that we will finally come across this man. Whether or not he is Celine's killer is another matter."

Ms Figard was travelling from France to visit her cousin, who works as a head waiter at a hotel in Hampshire's New Forest. Mr McCammont said: "We want to get as much information from the site where she was found, so we are appealing to motorists and walkers on the A449 on Thursday to contact us if they saw anything suspicious."