Shock over murder investigation in north Leeds

Residents in an affluent area of north Leeds have spoken of their shock after a body was found in nearby woodland.

Crime scene: Stairfoot Lane in Alwoodley
Crime scene: Stairfoot Lane in Alwoodley

A 26-year-old from Leeds has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody.

Today, a police police cordon remained in place at Stairfoot Lane - a single-track path - while forensic teams examined the scene but residents spoke of their shock at the news.

Crime scene: Stairfoot Lane in Alwoodley

Muriel Ritchie, 88, said: “It’s extraordinary and frightening. I’ve lived here 42 years and nothing’s happened like this before. It’ll be a shock to everyone - it’s horrible. You feel edgy.”

Lucy Best-Shaw, who lives nearby and is a church warden at Adel Parish Church, just off Stairfoot Lane, said: “I’m shocked. It’s a really nice area with beautiful woods - a popular place with dog walkers. I feel very sorry for anyone who makes such a discovery during a walk. It must be so traumatic.”

Another resident, who didn’t want to be named said: “It’s a bit of a shock. I didn’t hear or see anything. The police came knocking on Sunday morning and I saw that the road had been closed. It’s a nice part of the countryside. It’s where we used to go as kids. A lot of people walk up there at the weekends with dogs.”

Det Ch Insp Stuart Spencer, of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: "Our enquiries are still at an early stage but we are treating the woman’s death as murder and have specially trained officers supporting her family.

Crime scene: Stairfoot Lane in Alwoodley

"We would like to hear from anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area of the woods anytime between Friday evening and 9am on Sunday morning.” 

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team via 101 quoting Operation Panderwick or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.