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Celebrity website shows 'battered Rihanna' photo

A photo said to show singer Rihanna's face covered with bruises, scratches and swelling from an alleged attack by boyfriend Chris Brown was posted by a celebrity website today.

The image shows welts on the woman's forehead above each of her eyebrows, marks on her cheek and around her lips and general swelling. Website TMZ did not say how it obtained the photo, when it was taken or by whom.

Asked whether it could confirm the photo's origin, Officer Jason Lee of Los Angeles Police Department said only that the agency had not released any images of the woman who accused R&B singer Brown, 19, and would not release evidence photos.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney said all evidence related to the case against Brown was still with police.

Brown was arrested on February 8 on suspicion of making criminal threats to a woman that authorities have not publicly identified. A person familiar with the situation confirmed that the woman was Rihanna, whose real name is Robyn Fenty.

The person said some of the injuries shown in the photo - specifically the marks on the woman's forehead - were consistent with the injuries Rihanna sustained.

Prosecutors have asked police to provide more information before deciding whether to press charges against Brown. Police have said the singer could face domestic violence charges if prosecutors think they are appropriate.

The woman in the photo posted by TMZ has a tattoo of Roman numerals on her left shoulder; Rihanna was photographed by The Associated Press the night of the incident with a tattoo of the same numerals on the same shoulder.

TMZ had previously used its site to debunk a manipulated image that depicted Rihanna with a black eye.

No public statement has been issued on behalf of Rihanna, who is 21 today. Email and telephone messages left with representatives for both Brown and Rihanna were not immediately returned.

Brown released a statement on Sunday, which read in part: "Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired."

The statement, which did not mention Rihanna, said Brown was consulting with loved ones, his mother and pastor.

Brown's arrest came about 18 hours after he and Rihanna left a pre-Grammy party honouring music mogul Clive Davis.

According to police, Brown and a woman were involved in an altercation in a car travelling through the wealthy Hancock Park neighbourhood shortly after midnight. Police said the woman had visible injuries, and Brown was gone from the scene when they arrived.