Zoe Evans strangled, inquest told

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Murdered schoolgirl Zoe Evans was suffocated to death, an inquest was told yesterday.

The cause of death of the nine-year-old was revealed to the Wiltshire coroner, David Masters, sitting at Salisbury, where he formally opened and adjourned an inquest into her death. The coroner was told her body had been concealed in a badger set after her disappearance from her Pepper Place home at Warminster on January 11. It was revealed by animal activity on the steep side of the Battlesbury Hill, a bronze-age site, three quarters of a mile from her home in army married quarters.

The area had previously been searched by Army personnel and police with dogs trained to search and find bodies. The hillside body was formally identified as that of Zoe on Wednesday following extensive forensic tests. Mr Masters was told yesterday that DNA fingerprinting was the technique used in the identification process.