Bodies 'almost certainly' missing Britons

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The Independent Online
THE bodies of two women found in shallow bushland graves south- west of Sydney, Australia, are 'almost certainly' those of two British backpackers who disappeared in April, the father of one of the missing women said last night.

Joanne Walters and Caroline Clark, both 22, were last seen alive on 16 April, when they left a Sydney hotel saying they were going fruit-picking in southern New South Wales. They withdrew a couple of hundred dollars from a bank account the next day, but the account has not been used since.

Ray Walters, who flew to Sydney last month with his wife Jill to search for their daughter, Joanne, said Australian police told him: 'It looks very much like the two girls.'

Speaking at a friend's home in Sydney, Mr Walters said: 'We are naturally upset. You can't imagine what we have been through.'

Detectives last night said there was no doubt that the two victims were murdered. But they refused to speculate on how they died until the results of post-mortem examinations, which are due to take place today.

The bodies were found in two leaf-covered graves in a state forest reserve near Bowral, about 80 miles from Sydney. A man taking part in an orienteering event found one body on Saturday and police uncovered the second yesterday.

Ms Walters, from Maesteg in Mid Glamorgan, and Ms Clark, from Farnham, Surrey, arrived in Australia separately last year on working holidays and began travelling around the country together after meeting in Sydney.

They last rang their parents in Britain on 16 April. Before that, they had been in telephone contact about once every two weeks.