Mystery still surrounds Scottish woman’s death almost one year on


by Richard Morgan

THE daughter of a Scottish woman, whose body was found a year ago, said  today she still hopes that the mystery surrounding her death will be solved.

Next Wednesday will mark the first anniversary of Betty Brown’s body being discovered near a disused quarry at Longtown, Cumbria.

Mrs Brown's death remains a mystery

Although police still believe she could have been murdered, their investigation has been subsequently scaled back.

The 56-year-old grandmother was last seen on the Number 3 bus in her home city of Edinburgh on May 28, 2010. She is then believed to have travelled on the X95 service that runs to Gretna or Cumbria.

Her skeletal remains were found on January 18 last year. Two large supermarket bags she had been seen carrying where near her body.

Mrs Brown was described as a “very happy person” with “lots of hobbies such as walking and swimming or going for a wee drink with her friends.”

Her daughter, Sarah Smith, who lives in Gretna, is determined to get an answer. She said: “I just want anyone who might have seen her to contact the police. They might be too scared to come forward but I would urge them to pluck up the courage and go to the phone.”

Mrs Smith also explained that although a funeral had already been held, the family still required closure as to how her mother died.

The BBC’s Crimewatch broadcast a reconstruction of Mrs Brown’s last known movements but was unsuccessful. Mrs Smith said: “We were hoping for a better response but it didn’t really happen, apart from a few people saying they thought they had spotted her on a bus.”

Mrs Smith thinks her mother was coming to visit her as there was no other explanation for her to be going that direction. However, she said it was strange that no arrangements had been made to collect her at the bus. She described it as: “totally out of character for her to come down her on her own.”

DCI Jeff Ashton of Cumbria Police said the force had made “exhaustive attempts” to discover how Mrs Brown had died.

He also said a number of leads had been followed but they have not helped solved the mystery. DCI Ashton concluded: “The investigation remains active, but has been scaled back until we receive new information or a new lead.”

As she looked back on the year since her mother’s body was discovered, Mrs Smith said: “It has been very difficult for us all, but slightly easier for me as I have my kids and husband to support me. For the rest of my family it has been more difficult, especially my two brothers, Stuart and Jason, who live alone.”

Mrs Smith also said: “It may take months or years but we need to know what happened that day.”