Cliff killer raped and strangled his victim

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The Independent Online
THE Scottish chambermaid who was murdered while walking along a Devon cliff path had been stripped naked before being raped, strangled and dumped down a 45ft cliff, police said yesterday.

The body of Sandra Parkinson, 22, who worked at the Grafton Towers Hotel near Salcombe, south Devon, was found last Wednesday by searchers called out when she failed to turn up for work.

Yesterday her brothers Graham, 35, and Gary, 33, who have travelled from Scotland to help the police inquiry, were taking part in a second reconstruction of Miss Parkinson's last walk.

They accompanied a red- haired accounts clerk who was dressed in the grey leotard and black cycling shorts worn by Miss Parkinson, from Stevenson, near Glasgow, when last seen alive.

Detective Superintendent Phil Pyke said police wanted to trace two women seen taking photographs on Wednesday afternoon about 100 yards from the murder scene. One was in her twenties and the other in her thirties. They wore bright berets, calf-length skirts and baggy blouses and carried rucksacks.

They were seen taking photographs in the area and police said one of them could hold a vital clue.

Det Supt Pyke said so far thousands of motorists had been interviewed at checkpoints set up around Salcombe and there had been a tremendous response from the public to nation-wide publicity about the murder.

People were going into local police stations to make witness statements, taking in holiday photographs taken in the area which may help the police inquiry.

Holidaymakers who had returned home had also telephoned to offer their films.

A team of 80 officers continued to search a 10,000 square metre area of cleared undergrowth around the murder scene and some articles have been removed for forensic examination.