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Man arrested after woman's body found

Police arrested a 25-year-old man yesterday on suspicion of murder after a woman's body was discovered in Buckinghamshire countryside.

Earlier, a helicopter, tracker dogs and mounted police had been searching for 67-year-old Sally Hingston, who was reported missing after she went walking on Thursday near her home in Gawcott, a village near Buckingham.

Police were unable to confirm the identity of the woman whose naked body was found yesterday behind a hedge in a field just off the road, about two miles outside Gawcott.

A Home Office pathologist attended the scene to examine the body before it was moved to Stoke Mandeville hospital for a post mortem examination.

Mrs Hingston, who lived with her husband, Reg, was last seen walking past Windrush Farm. One villager said: "That woman walked everywhere around this village – all across the fields, all across the roads, everywhere. I think she did it to keep fit."

Volunteers searched for Mrs Hingston until about 2am yesterday.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman confirmed that a man had been arrested yesterday on suspicion of murder. He said: "The body is yet to be identified and a post mortem examination will take place in due course."

Chief Superintendent Paul Tinnion said: "We are currently investigating a number of lines of inquiries into the circumstances of the woman's death and have arrested a man, who is in custody on suspicion of murder.

"The neighbourhood policing team have increased their patrols and we have a mobile police station in the village near the cricket grounds over the weekend for people to talk about concerns they have over the incident or to pass on information.

"I urge anyone who may have seen any person or vehicle acting suspiciously in the area sometime today or yesterday to come forward. Any information, no matter how insignificant it may appear to you, could be vital."

The arrested man lives with his father in Gawcott. A police cordon was thrown around the house yesterday.

Sally and Reg Hingston have lived in Gawcott for about 30 years. The village, which is mentioned in the Doomsday Book under the name Chauescote, has a population of 706.

It is the second violent death in that part of Buckinghamshire in less than a month. On 11 July, Sally Garwood, a 34-year-old teaching assistant, was killed in an apparently random attack while she was walking her dog near Meadowcroft in Aylesbury, 17 miles from Gawcott.

Passers-by found her body a few minutes after she had been attacked. Her throat had been cut with a knife.

Robert Cusworth, 24, of Aylesbury, a chef employed in a nearby pub, has been charged with her murder.