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Dales body police unable to speak with husband

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Police who travelled to Thailand to speak with the family of a woman found dead in the Yorkshire Dales have been unable to meet with her husband.

Walkers discovered the half-naked body of Lamduan Armitage, nee Seekanya, in a stream near Pen-y-ghent in 2004.

For 15 years her identity was unknown until family in Thailand came forward and DNA proved it was their daughter.

Officers have spoken with her parents but have not yet managed to meet with her husband David Armitage.

Before they flew out to Thailand on 15 February, North Yorkshire Police said they could not move the case forward without "understanding from Lamduan's family all the aspects about her life and particularly the last few months of her life".

While in the country they have worked alongside the Thai police's Department of Special Investigation (DSI) following a request from the force seeking interviews from witnesses in Udon Thani, Bangkok and Kanchanaburi.

Udomkann Warotamasikkhadit, head of the DSI's foreign affairs and international relations division, said Mr Armitage had initially agreed to come and give evidence.

But he said on the day he refused and added: "He said he didn't feel well and also had some personal issues."

Adam Harland, manager of the major investigation team's cold case review unit, said it was "unfortunate" that they had not been able to "seek the views of the whole family around Lamduan's remains".

Mr Harland said officers would now return to North Yorkshire while the DSI continued its investigations.

A post-mortem examination carried out after Lamduan's body was found on 20 September 2004 failed to establish how she died.

There was no sign of violence and hypothermia was ruled out, but detectives could not answer two main questions; who she was or how she met her death.

Local people paid for her burial in the churchyard in Horton-in-Ribblesdale and she became known as The Lady of the Hills.

A cold case review was started in 2016 and scientific advances meant police were able to piece together a more detailed picture of who she was and came to the conclusion she had been killed.

In 2019, there was a major breakthrough when a Thai family read a BBC online story about the case and believed the woman could be their daughter who vanished in 2004.

This led North Yorkshire Police to carry out DNA testing with the parents in order to confirm Mrs Armitage's identity.

It was established she had moved to the UK in 1991 with Mr Armitage after they were married in Thailand and they had been living in northern England before her death.

Mr Armitage, who later returned to Thailand, has previously said he was not involved in his wife's death, according to The Sun.

Mr Harland said from meeting Lamduan's mother Joomsri Seekanya, the family's desperate wish was for her daughter's body to be returned to Thailand.

However, he said relatives were presented with a memorial book showing the spot where Lamduan was buried and how the community had cared for her.

"Mr and Mrs Seekanya were deeply moved by this and they asked for their warm thanks and appreciation to be passed on to residents in Horton-in-Ribblesdale."

Additional reporting by BBC Thai's Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai in Bangkok.

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