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Missing solicitor found strangled in car

A solicitor found dead in the boot of a car days after she was reported missing was strangled, police said today.

Linda Bakewell, 45, a law firm director and personal injuries specialist, was last seen leaving a car park in Liverpool City Centre on Friday evening.

Her body was recovered yesterday morning when police found her silver Nissan Note hire car which was parked in Shavington Walk, Widnes, Cheshire.

It is thought the body had been in the boot for some time. The area where it was found is residential with a number of family homes close by.

A post-mortem carried out last night by a Home Office pathologist revealed Ms Bakewell was strangled.

Sources said local man Philip Martins, 47, thought to be her lover, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of her murder and remains in police custody.

Divorced Ms Bakewell, from Prescot, Merseyside, had worked as a freelance solicitor until recently when she re-joined Liverpool firm Armstrong Solicitors as a director.

In a statement, the company, said: "The directors and all staff of Armstrong Solicitors are deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic news surrounding their colleague and friend, Linda Bakewell.

"Linda, a solicitor and director of the firm, worked with the company since inception in 2006.

"She made a valuable contribution to the growth of Armstrong's and was popular with all members of staff. She will be sorely missed.

"Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this extremely sad and difficult time."

A spokeswoman for Cheshire Police said: "The body has not yet been formally identified.

"However, Cheshire Police are liaising with Merseyside Police in respect of a 45-year-old woman reported missing from the Merseyside area last week.

"The post-mortem took place yesterday evening and the cause of death has been confirmed as asphyxiation.

"The 47-year-old man arrested yesterday remains in custody assisting police with their enquiries."