Teenager was probably strangled

Schoolgirl Kirsty Tidman, whose dismembered torso and legs were found floating in the River Thames, was sexually assaulted and probably strangled, an inquest heard yesterday.

The 14-year-old disappeared from her home in south-east London, in May. Her body was found nine days later near Wapping, east London, and her legs were found separately shortly afterwards. Her head has still not been recovered.

Poplar coroner's court, in east London, heard that she was dead at the time her body was dismembered and had probably been sexually assaulted. Consultant pathologist Michael Heath said: "There was extensive bruising on the back of the neck and lower left side of the neck and this indicated that the death was caused by compression of the neck."

Coroner Dr Stephen Chan recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.