The body of a young woman murdered as she walked home on an unlit riverside footpath was found by a jogger, police revealed today.
The grim discovery was made close to the Madejski Stadium in Reading, Berkshire, last night.
The victim, thought to be 19 years old, suffered multiple stab wounds shortly after leaving the Reading Gate Retail Park, a source added.
Her handbag was found on the path, next to the River Kennet, shortly after her body was discovered at 8.30pm yesterday.
A post-mortem examination was taking place at a local hospital this afternoon. The victim's family has been informed and she is expected to be formally identified later.
Superintendent Jim Weems, area commander for Reading with Thames Valley Police, said they were "keeping an open mind" about the motive for her murder.
He told a press conference at Reading police station: "We believe that the victim may have been walking home from work at the time of the incident.
"A post-mortem is taking place this afternoon. We can therefore not speculate on the cause of her death or the nature of her injuries at this time."
The area is popular with dog walkers, who described the stretch of footpath, under the A33 dual carriageway, as dangerous to walk down at night.
Mr Weems urged any potential witnesses to come forward with information.
He said: "I'm confident that someone out there knows how and why this happened."
Detective Inspector Dave Hubbard, from the force's Major Crime Unit, said of area where the murder took place: "It is not well lit and in the evening is not that well used.
"It was a member of the public who found the lady while out jogging."
The area where the young woman, who was from Reading, was murdered is popular with dog walkers, cyclists and fishermen.
Many people walking there today said they avoided the footpath at night because it is so badly lit, despite the presence of CCTV cameras at the retail park and the nearby Green Park industrial estate.
Kathryn Hilliard, 28, of nearby Kennet Island, said: "That part of the footpath is a bit scary and there's a lot of graffiti down there.
"I would never go down there in the dark on my own."
Debbie Garth, 39, said: "I've always been wary of walking under there, and will be even more wary now."
Margaret Ward said: "It's quite picturesque, but it's not somewhere I'd walk in the middle of the night because there's no lighting there.
"It's quite incredible to believe because it's a nice little area around here.
"But even with my dogs I wouldn't walk under the bridge. It's a blow to think this has happened somewhere where I walk every day."
Staff at a nearby McDonald's restaurant, which is open 24 hours a day, said they were shocked to hear of the murder. Pam Cripps described the crime as "terrifying".
No arrests have yet been made and police are still searching for the murder weapon.
Forensics officers continue to examine the path, which passes underneath two bridges. The murder scene is still sealed off, with police guarding the scene.
The victim is thought to have worked at Reading's Laura Ashley home furnishings store on the nearby Brunel Retail Park.
A spokeswoman for the company said she could not confirm if the woman was an employee until she is formally identified.
Police officers are examining CCTV footage to see if the cameras captured her killer.Reuse content