Death of Lamduan Armitage

Lamduan Armitage (née Seekanya) was a formerly unidentified woman whose body was discovered in 2004 on the mountain Pen-y-ghent in Yorkshire, England, leading her to become known as the Lady of the Hills.[1] The woman was found to have come from somewhere in South-East Asia,[2] but despite an international police investigation, the identity of the woman and how she arrived at the location remained a mystery until 2019.[3] The woman was identified in March 2019 through DNA testing.[4]

Photograph of Lamduan Armitage


On Monday 20 September 2004 at 11:30 am, a man walking in the vicinity of Pen-y-ghent alerted the police to the discovery of the body of a dead woman.[5] The man had discovered the body in a well-trafficked location on the Pennine Way between Pen-y-ghent and Horton in Ribblesdale[6] in a stream called Sell Gill Beck,[1] which flows into a cave called Sell Gill Hole.[7] It was thought that the body had been in the stream for some time,[5] and that the woman could have died up to three weeks before the discovery.[8] The cause of death was not initially apparent, and no signs of violence were reported.[5]


The woman was believed to be of southeast-Asian origin,[9] had dark, shoulder-length hair,[5] and was about 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 m) tall.[2] Her age was estimated between 25 and 35 years.[2] The woman had healthy teeth with a noticeable gap at the front.[8] Her body was clothed in green jeans and a green-and-white-striped T-shirt;[10] she also wore a wedding ring.[2] The ring was 22-karat gold and made in Bangkok, Thailand.[11] The woman had pierced ears, but no earrings were found.[11] No shoes, warm outer clothing, or other personal effects were found at the site.[11] The woman weighed 10 stone (64 kg)[1] but appeared to have gained weight in the years prior to her death.[2]

Initial investigationEdit

Immediately after the discovery, North Yorkshire Police commenced an extensive investigation. Police questioned walkers using the Pennine Way, conducted house-to-house enquires in the locality, and issued letters to local holiday accommodations that appealed for witnesses in multiple languages.[6] Police investigated every sighting in the Yorkshire Dales of women matching the description of the unidentified body dating back to 1 August 2004.[6]

A postmortem was undertaken, which suggested the woman died between 31 August and 13 September, but it did not provide enough information to enable investigators to establish the cause of death.[6] The postmortem indicated that the woman had probably been pregnant at some point during her life.[2]

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Martin stated that the death was unexplained rather than suspicious.[1] A search of missing persons databases did not produce any matches.[1]

A number of countries were identified as the potential origin of the woman. These countries included Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.[2] Analysis of the body indicated that the woman had been in the UK for at least two years prior to her death and that she had probably lived in Cumbria, Lancashire, or the west Yorkshire Dales.[2]

Subsequent investigationsEdit

In December 2004 the police produced an e-fit photograph of the woman, which was issued to the embassies of a number of Asian countries.[12] At this time it was believed that the woman could have originated from the Philippines, China, or Korea.[12] No meaningful response was received from this appeal.[7]

In February 2005 an appeal was made on the BBC programme Crimewatch.[10]

In May 2007 the inquest heard that the investigation found no evidence of trauma, assault, or drowning, and it recorded an open verdict.[13]

In 2011 the police announced that they were reopening the investigation of eight unsolved deaths. The Lady of the Hills was one of these cases along with the Sutton Bank body.[14]

In 2018 an appeal was made by the North Yorkshire Police.[15] The appeal was made on Facebook in the Filipino, Thai, and English languages so that the messages could be shared internationally.[9]


On 22 January 2019, a family in Thailand came forward in the belief that they knew the identity of the victim.[16] The woman had married a British man in 1991 and moved to north-west England in 1995. The mother of the woman had not heard from her daughter since 2004.[17]

On 19 March 2019, North Yorkshire Police revealed that they had identified the body, following DNA testing,[4] as Lamduan Armitage (nee Seekanya). Armitage was married to British lecturer David Armitage (her second husband) in Thailand and moved to Portsmouth in 1991.[18] David Armitage was located in 2019 and denied any involvement in his wife's death.[18] The cause of death remains unknown, but the police have not ruled out murder.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Moore, Lindsey (19 September 2014). "No new leads in 'Lady of the Hills' mystery". Craven Herald. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Pidd, Helen (23 July 2018). "Police seek to identify woman found dead in Yorkshire Dales in 2004". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  3. ^ Brooke-Battersby, Jack (20 July 2018). "Police cold case review team turn to social media to identify woman whose body was found in Dales". The Westmorland Gazette. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Woman identified in 2004 Pen-y-Ghent body cold-case investigation - can you help?". North Yorkshire Police. 19 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Staff (21 September 2004). "Woman's body discovered in stream". BBC News. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Staff (19 September 2005). "Mystery of Dales body unresolved". BBC News. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b Staff (2 October 2004). "Villagers quizzed over moors body". BBC News. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  8. ^ a b Staff (21 September 2011). "Riddle of Dales body unsolved seven years on". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  9. ^ a b Staff (13 July 2018). "Facebook appeal over body found in Dales". BBC News. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  10. ^ a b Staff (23 February 2005). "National appeal over Dales body". BBC News. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Smith, Bob (12 July 2018). "Police launch international social media campaign to solve Pennine Way body mystery". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  12. ^ a b Staff (16 December 2004). "Embassies help in Dales mystery". BBC News. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  13. ^ Staff (18 September 2007). "Woman's identity still a mystery". BBC News. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  14. ^ Henderson, Vicki (18 November 2011). "Police reopen inquiries into eight unsolved deaths". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  15. ^ Lavery, Mark (12 July 2018). "Woman found dead on Pennine Way 14 years ago still unidentified: Cold case review team launch Facebook appeal". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  16. ^ "'Thai bride' body found in 2004 on Yorkshire Dales may be relative". BBC News. 25 January 2019.
  17. ^ "'Thai Bride' Identified 15 Years After Body Found In Yorkshire Dales". Archived from the original on 28 July 2019. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  18. ^ a b "'She was a lovely woman' - Friends of Thai mother-of-three who sparked 15-year Lady of the Hills mystery speak out". Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  19. ^ "'Thai Bride' Identified 15 Years After Body Found In Yorkshire Dales". Archived from the original on 28 July 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.

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