New Forest death: Murder hunt after woman found stabbed in field

  • Published
Media caption,

Police said Pennie Davis, who worked in a local supermarket, died at the scene

A mother of five found dead in a field in the New Forest was stabbed to death, police have said.

Detectives think Penelope Davis, 47, known as Pennie, was tending to her horses when she was attacked. Her body was found on Leygreen Farm in Beaulieu by her husband Pete.

The death on Tuesday is being treated as murder but police said there was "no obvious suspect".

Officers are searching a nearby farmhouse.

In a statement, Mrs Davis' family said: "Pennie was a remarkable person. She was a devoted mother of five children who worked hard to ensure that they had everything they needed.

"In May she married her love, Pete, at a joyful occasion surrounded by her loved ones.

Media caption,

Det Supt Paul Barton said 47-year-old Penelope Anne Davis suffered "multiple stab wounds"

"Pennie was the kind of woman who once she became your friend she was a friend for life. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and grief that her death has caused."

In a news conference held near the scene, Det Supt Paul Barton from Hampshire Constabulary said: "As you can imagine her husband is extremely traumatised at the moment.

"People are going to be extremely worried until we catch this person, I ask them to be vigilant and we will be stepping up patrols in the area."

He would not comment when asked whether a murder weapon had been found or whether the killer was known to her.

Police said Mrs Davis, who worked in a local Sainsbury's supermarket, died at the scene.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death was multiple stab wounds.

Mrs Davis visited the field on a daily basis to tend to her horses, where her husband would meet her, police said.

Image caption,
Mrs Davis was found dead in a field near Beaulieu by her husband

Det Supt Barton appealed for anyone who had been in the area between 14:00 and 17:00 BST on Tuesday, including tourists travelling on an open-top bus which does a circuit of the area, to contact with them.

He said: "This is a rural location but it is extremely busy with local people using it as a short cut to Lyndhurst and many tourists passing through."

A tent is currently in place to preserve the crime scene and forensic officers have begun a finger-tip search of the field where Mrs Davis was found.

No arrests have been made.

Her employer, Sainsbury's, issued a statement saying the company was "shocked by this tragic news".

Image caption,
Police have been carrying out investigation work at Leygreen Farm

"Our thoughts are with Pennie's family and friends at this very difficult time. We will fully assist the police in any way we can with the investigation," it added.

Mrs Davis previously worked for the Daily Echo newspaper as a business development representative.

Editor Ian Murray said: "All of us who remember working with Pennie are shocked by the terrible news of her death.

"Pennie was a lively, bubbly and professional member of the team here who always seemed in good spirits whatever the challenge."

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