Murdered heiress 'had called off marriage'

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The Independent Online

Suzy Healey, 39, daughter of the businessman Malcolm Healey, was found dead at Ellerker Hall in East Yorkshire on Monday morning. Yesterday police confirmed that she "did not die of natural causes". They would not substantiate reports that the mother of two was strangled, or any details of the post-mortem examination.

A Humberside police spokesman said Ms Healey - whose teenage daughters were believed to be away - was formally identified by family. In a statement through the police, the family spoke of the terrible shock and tragic loss, adding: "We are devastated by Suzy's death, the circumstances of which are under investigation by Humberside Police."

A friend, Vicky Hedges, said: "She was a fun, bouncy, bubbly blonde. She came to Ellerker about seven years ago. She was really integrated into the village, you would see her going round with her pony and trap." The divorcee, who took in abandoned animals from the RSPCA, was thought to have been involved in a relationship for six months. Some residents said she had recently called off her wedding, although no local register offices had notification of any imminent plans. The Rev Peter Faulkner, vicar at the local church, said: "I have heard those rumours but she had not approached me. It was not a local wedding."

He added: "She had lived alone for a number of years. Her children lived with her husband. I didn't know her personally but I do know she took part in social events and mixed with others in the village. She donated things on occasion to the church."

A woman who helped to tend her horses is understood to have raised the alarm when she could not contact the heiress.

Ms Healey - daughter of Malcolm Healey, who made much of his £750m fortune when he sold his Hygena kitchen business - lived at the large country mansion set in 10 acres of land in the quiet East Riding village.

Police were continuing to question a man aged 37 who was arrested in the Scarborough area on Monday on suspicion of murder.