British police travel to Thailand to solve 'Lady in the Hills' mystery
13th February 2023

British police travel to Thailand to probe mystery of the ‘Lady of the Hills’ after woman was found dead and half-naked in remote Yorkshire Dales spot nearly 20 years ago

  • A half-naked woman’s body was found by walkers in the Yorkshire Dales in 2004
  • The ‘Lady of the Hills’ was identified in 2019 as Thai-born Lamduan Armitage, 36 
  • North Yorkshire Police officers are travelling to Thailand to speak to her parents

Police have travelled to Thailand to speak to the husband and family of a woman dubbed ‘the Lady in the Hills’ who was found half naked and dead in the countryside nearly 20 years ago.

Lamduan Armitage’s body was found by walkers in a remote location in the Yorkshire Dales on September 20, 2004.

She was discovered wearing just socks and jeans and had a ripped bra hanging off her arm.

Lamduan was named as ‘The Lady of the Hills’ by locals who even paid for her funeral before her identity was discovered in early 2019.

Her parents saw an article about her death, contacted officers and said they believed it could be their daughter who they hadn’t seen since 2004.

Thai-born Lamduan Armitage, 36, vanished from her home in Burton-in-Kendal in 2004. It took 14 years for detectives to identify her as the ‘Lady of the Hills’ 

Mrs Armitage’s body was found by walkers in a remote location in the Yorkshire Dales on September 20, 2004, wearing just socks and jeans and a ripped bra hanging off her arm

DNA testing was carried out which confirmed the woman to be Lamduan, who would be now aged 55 and who was living in northern England at the time of her death.

Timeline: Lamduan Seekanya’s relationship with David Armitage

June 1990: David and Lamduan meet in Thailand

January 1991: The pair get married

July 1991: They move to the UK and live in Portsmouth

February 1992: Their first child, a son, is born

May 1999: Their daughter is born

2003: They move to Rugby in Warwickshire, and from there to Burton-in-Kendal in Cumbria 

September 2004: A woman’s half-naked body is found near Horton-in-Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire

March 2019: Police finally identify the body as Lamduan Armitage, who was 36 when she vanished in 2004.

February 2023: North Yorkshire Police arrange to visit Thailand, where Mrs Armitage’s husband and parents live 

It also established that she was married with three children and that she had previously lived in Portsmouth, Rugby and Preston.

She is originally from the Udon Thani province in northeast Thailand, which is where her parents still live.

North Yorkshire Police officers are now travelling to Thailand to speak to Lamduan’s parents Buasa and Joomsri Seekanya, after an almost four-year delay due to COVID.

They will also be speaking to her husband David Armitage, who now also lives in Thaland.

Mr Armitage told The Sun in 2019 that he wasn’t involved in his wife’s death.

It is thought Ms Seekanya and Mr Armitage were married in Thailand in January 1991, then moved to England and had two children together.

For many years, the ‘Lady of the Hills’ case, as it became known, could not identify the woman despite multiple appeals and photographs, along with an artist impression released by the British police which was published as part of an attempt to trace the victim’s family.

She was buried by locals, after a small service paid for by the local parish at Horton-in-Ribblesdale churchyard. They named her ‘The Lady of the Hills’.

A gravestone in the hills above the town reads: ‘The Lady of the Hills. Found September 20, 2004. Name Not Known. Rest in Peace.’

A cold case review by North Yorkshire Police, led by retired chief detective Adam Harland, has been working on the mystery for the last several years.

Mr Harland, said he remains ‘determined to seek answers’ for Lamduan’s family.

Lamduan was named as ‘The Lady of the Hills’ by locals who even paid for her funeral before her identity was discovered in early 2019.

Mr Armitage and his wife were understood to have been living with his parents in Burton-in-Kendal, Cumbria. Lamdaun’s body was found in 2004 in Horton-in-Ribblesdale

The gravestone in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire, where Mrs Armitage was buried in 2007

He said: ‘Despite the difficulties we have faced to progress the investigation in recent years, we remain determined to seek answers for Lamduan’s family about the circumstances of her being found dead in a beautiful but remote part of the Yorkshire Dales in September 2004.

‘It has been frustrating to have had to wait so long to be able to travel to Thailand.

‘We are hoping to speak with all the members of her family, including her husband, to gather their evidence about her life and to offer what support we can with regards to their loss.

‘The loss of any family member in circumstances of homicide is a terrible blow, bringing a misery and a sense of loss that so often lasts a lifetime.

‘There is, in this case, the additional pain that for 14 years it was not even known that this had been Lamduan’s fate.

‘We will also be consulting with all the family members about a request that Lamduan’s remains be returned to her family in Thailand in accordance with their Buddhist faith.

Retired detective chief Inspector Adam Harland, who is leading the cold case investigation, pictured at the stream near Sell Gill Holes caves where the body was found nearly 20 years ago

‘This is not a straightforward process to achieve.

‘They will have our assistance and support in bringing a resolution to this particularly unhappy case.’

Mr Harland has also urged people to avoid speculation around the case, to ensure they have the best chance to deliver justice for her and her family.

He added: ‘North Yorkshire Police is aware of the widespread interest in this investigation which strikes at the heart of issues surrounding violence against women and girls in the United Kingdom, in Thailand, and around the world.

‘To ensure that the investigation and the path of fair justice are not compromised, we strongly urge the media and people using social media to avoid damaging speculation about this case.

‘We are doing all we can to seek answers and secure justice for Lamduan’s loved ones.

‘After almost 19 years, during which time the community of Horton in Ribblesdale have shown respect and care for Lamduan when she was only known as the “Lady of the Hills”, it would be a tragedy if we were prevented from achieving this outcome due to damaging reporting and online speculation.’

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