Cockley Cley

Cockley Cley

Background of Original Investigation
On 27 August 1974 the body of an unidentified woman wearing a pink Marks and Spencers nightdress was found on farmland near Cockley Cley, Swaffham.

Her head had been cut off, her hands were bound with string and her body was badly decomposed. Despite a thorough investigation at the time, the police did not succeed in finding out who she was or who had killed her.

Why has this case been looked at again?

It may now be possible to identify the victim using a combination of modern forensic science and cold case investigation techniques. 

Current Progress

  • Under the operational name of MONTON the cold case team exhumed the body in 2008 and obtained a DNA sample from it.
  • We have traced and eliminated over 470 women from all over the country and further afield who, in the early 1970s, were reported as missing persons or being of interest
  • Where it has not been possible to trace a missing woman we have located the nearest blood relatives of that woman and taken DNA samples from them to compare to our victim, in order to see if they could be related.
  • An ‘isotopic analysis’ has been carried out on the victim’s remains to help establish where in the world she originally came from and where she lived in the months leading up to her death.
  • A forensic osteo-archaeologist also examined the skeleton and provided us with new information about the profile of the victim that she had in particular had a baby. Using this new information, we have commenced ‘familial DNA’ work. This is where the police research the National DNA Database to find possible links between the victim and family members whose DNA has been loaded onto the database.Through researching the family tree of that person it is possible to trace our victim.
  • Various exhibits, including the nightdress and the rope, have been tested.


Additional Information

Work continues to identify the unidentified victim. The investigation carried out between 2008 to 2010 under Operation Monton eliminated 470 women from all over the UK, who in the period around 1974, were believed to be missing from their families. Despite this, we continue to seek any new information that can help identify the victim through the DNA profile obtained from her remains.


Contact details

Unsolved Case Review Manager: Mr Andy Guy

Contact Tel: 01953 423819   

Email: [email protected]

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on: 0800 555 111.