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Woman found dead in Broads was strangled

A woman found in a Norfolk river close to the body of her boyfriend is thought to have been strangled before being dumped in the water, police revealed last night.

Officers cordoned off a stretch of the River Bure between Wroxham Broad and Salhouse Broad after a 13-year-old girl was found alone on a rented boat on Saturday. They found the bodies of the couple, from Surrey, in the river on Sunday, a few metres from the boat.

A post-mortem examination carried out yesterday showed that the woman was dead before being submerged in the river, with strangulation the likely cause of death.

Her boyfriend is thought to have drowned. Norfolk Police said his death was not being treated as suspicious, suggesting detectives believe he murdered the woman before killing himself. Detectives have been trying to establish how long the woman had been dead before her body was discovered and whether her boyfriend had died at the same time or later.

One possibility they have considered was that he killed her but stayed on the boat for several days before killing himself. There have also been reports that police have removed a blood-stained sheet from the boat.

It remains unclear whether the girl had any idea about what had happened to her mother, but there were claims yesterday that the boat she was found on was moored in the same spot for up to a week with the curtains drawn.

Police expect to be able to confirm the man's identity today. The 13-year-old was physically unhurt and is being cared for by relatives.