A MOTHER-OF-FIVE whose body was found in a New Forest field had been stabbed to death, police have revealed.
Penelope Davis had been tending to her two horses in the field near Beaulieu, Hampshire, at about 4.40pm on Tuesday when she was killed.
The 47-year-old supermarket worker from Blackfield, Hampshire, was found by her husband Pete who is said to be distraught.
Her family have told of their “devastation” at the death of a “remarkable person” and a “devoted mother”.
A statement released by the family through police said: “We are devastated by the death of our beloved mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
“Pennie was a remarkable person. She was a devoted mother of five children who worked hard to ensure that they had everything they needed.
“She cared for and supported them in everything they did. In May she married her love, Pete, at a joyful occasion surrounded by her loved ones.
“Pennie was the kind of woman who once she became your friend she was a friend for life.”
Detective Superintendent Paul Barton, of Hampshire Police, told a news conference: “We carried out an autopsy on Mrs Davis at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and I can reveal that the cause of death was multiple stab wounds. This is therefore a murder inquiry.”
Mr Barton said Mrs Davis visited the field on a daily basis to tend to her horses and that her husband would often meet her there.
He said that at this stage it was not known if the killer was known to her and would not comment on whether a murder weapon had been found.
He said: “She comes down to tend her horses every day, the time may vary depending on her shift pattern. Her husband is extremely distraught at the moment.
“We urgently need to trace and speak to witnesses. We want to speak to anyone who was in the area of the paddock by Leygreen Farm on Tuesday afternoon between 2pm and 5pm.
“This is just north of Beaulieu and a popular route used by local commuters from Lymington to Southampton to avoid Lyndhurst.
“We believe there will have been tourists in this area at the time as well as commuters, walkers and people out fishing in the adjacent river.
“Anyone who thinks they can help is urged to call us as soon as possible. Information can also be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Mr Barton said about 70 officers were involved in the investigation. Forensic officers have begun a fingertip search of the field.