Former Bath student Catherine Wells-Burr may have known her killer
Former Bath Spa University student Catherine Wells-Burr may have known her murderer, police revealed today.
The 23-year-old's body was discovered in her burning car in a lane in Somerset early yesterday morning and detectives are working on the theory that Catherine knew her killer.
"One of the theories that we are working on is that Catherine was murdered by someone close to her, someone she knew," Detective Chief Inspector Simon Crisp told a press conference at Taunton Police Station.
"We do not think this is a random attack but we are not ruling it out."
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Catherine, who lived in Chard, Somerset, with her family, studied business management at Bath Spa University and graduated with first-class honours.
A friend of Catherine's, who did not wish to be named, said: "I found out this morning and I feel sick, I can't concentrate and I can't work.
"I've known her for years and she was a lovely girl. Really sweet. I only spoke to her the other day. Everyone seems to be feeling down about it.
"This sort of thing shouldn't happen to anyone, especially not her, she was the nicest girl.
"Whoever did this was evil, pure and simple."
Detectives are keping an open mind as to the motive and have appealed to her friends and anyone she socialised with in the hunt for clues.
The alarm was raised when her red Ford Focus was spotted on fire in Ashhill, near Illminster on Wednesday.
"A member of the public saw the burning car at around 6.00 - 6.30 am and called the police, who subsequently found the body. We believe whatever happened to Catherine, happened around that time in the morning," said DCI Crisp, from Avon and Somerset Police.
"We cannot say how she died yet as the post-mortem has not been conducted. We are expecting results back from the post-mortem tomorrow or the next day."
"We are still searching for the offenders and we are not going to give out any information about suspects or arrests for the time being.
“This is a tragic and brutal incident in which a young woman has needlessly lost her life. We are working to establish what happened in the early hours of yesterday morning that led to this car being set ablaze."
And DCI Crisp appealed to anyone in the area at the time to come forward.
“I would like to appeal to anyone with any information about this incident to get in touch with us no matter how small you think that piece of information may be.
“In particular I’d like to speak to any motorists who were in the area around the time who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously or anyone crossing the A358. Your information may be crucial so please contact us by calling 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”