Nightclubber found dead in woodland den

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A BODY found in a children's woodland den was identified yesterday as that of Jennifer King, the young woman who went missing after leaving a Bristol nightclub last weekend. Detectives said she had been strangled.

Police appealed for help from the public, saying that the killer would have come home early last Saturday morning with muddy clothing, possibly with scratches on his face and hands from brambles in the copse.

Ms King, 22, was last seen leaving a club in the Kingswood area called Chasers, where she had spent a night out with friends, shortly after 2am on Saturday. It is not known whether she planned to catch a taxi or to walk the mile to her home.

Detective Superintendent Bill Davies, head of the murder inquiry, told a press conference yesterday that her killer appeared to have detailed knowledge of the area and of the woodland location where her partially- clothed body was dumped.

Ms King's body was found by police searching near her home in Warmley, on the outskirts oskirts of Bristol, on Tuesday. Det Supt Davies described the copse as a ``den'', and appealed to the local community for information on people who had visited the spot.

``It is paramount that we trace the offender as soon as possible,'' he said. ``We are all very sad that the search for Jennifer has ended in this way, and we want to extend our deepest sympathy to the family.''

Det Supt Davies said it was too early to state whether Ms King had been sexually assaulted. He disclosed that a member of the public saw a couple walking down the high street where Chasers is located within minutes of the last sighting of her.

Later the couple were seen again. The woman was walking down the street, and the man was in front of her, walking backwards. "They appeared to be in conversation, and the man may have been pestering the woman," Det Supt Davies said.

Police want to speak to anyone who might have seen Ms King, a receptionist with a soft drinks firm, outside the club or making her way home.