French take murder inquiry to UK

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THE TWO French magistrates investigating the murder of British student Isabel Peake were in Staffordshire yesterday accompanied by two French detectives, building up a picture of her personality and background.

The investigators have spoken with Miss Peake's parents and will also talk to her sister and to her friends and teachers in Birmingham, where Miss Peake was a student.

One question that they will try to answer is why Miss Peake, 20, left her flat in Limoges in central France in the early hours of 13 October to make an overnight journey to Britain. Her broken and partly clothed body was found beside the Limoges-to-Paris railway line later that day.

In a statement, the investigating magistrates, Michel Bonnieu and Jean Dematteis, said: "We wish to assure the British authorities that the case is taken with great seriousness and professionalism by the French authorities."

Sources close to the inquiry said earlier this week that they might soon issue a composite picture of someone they wished to trace as a possible "witness" to events on the train the night Miss Peake was killed.