Australian police investigating the death of a British tourist whose body was found in the outback believe she may have got lost while trying to walk 20km back her hotel at night.
Ethel Hetherington, 52, of Great Broughton, Cockermouth, Cumbria was last seen on Monday night at a bar in the popular tourist resort of Yulara.
Her body was found shortly after 10am today by a group of Aborigines about 22km east of the Mutitjulu Aboriginal Community.
Northern Territory Police, leading the investigation into her death, believe Mrs Hetherington visited the community and became disorientated while trying to walk the 20km back to Yulara.
Superintendent Colin Smith, of the Southern Division, said: "Inquiries have uncovered that she may have travelled out to the community by vehicle with other people shortly after 10pm.
"She may have thought she was walking back towards the resort but in fact she was walking in the wrong direction, away from Yulara.
"Initial examinations suggest she may have done a considerable amount of walking. There are no obvious signs of foul play."
Mr Smith said it was "very unusual" to attempt a walk of this distance through the desert.
Temperatures can soar to almost 40C in the full heat of the day.
Mrs Hetherington, who was married with children, had been travelling across the Northern Territory with her cousin and her cousin's husband.
She was last seen at around 10pm in the Barbecue Bar of the Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge.
Police launched an air and land search involving Aboriginal trackers in a bid to trace her.
Mr Smith said trips out to the community were not common and officers were investigating why and with whom, she may have travelled.
He added she had been drinking in the bar and it was not possible to tell how much alcohol she had consumed.
Her body will be transferred to Alice Springs tomorrow and a post mortem examination is expected to be carried out during the coming days.
The cause of death has yet to be established.
Mrs Hetherington's family were too upset to speak of her death.Reuse content