Body found in woodland near Stevenage is female, Herts police confirm

PUBLISHED: 14:15 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:25 09 October 2019

Police have put up a cordon around an area of Norton Green woodland. Picture: Matt Margesson

Police have put up a cordon around an area of Norton Green woodland. Picture: Matt Margesson

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A post-mortem has established that a body found in woodland near Stevenage at the weekend belonged to a female.

A suspected body has been found in Norton Green woodland off of Chadwell Road near Stevenage. Picture: Matt MargessonA suspected body has been found in Norton Green woodland off of Chadwell Road near Stevenage. Picture: Matt Margesson

A spokeswoman for Herts police confirmed the sex has been established following yesterday's post-mortem, with formal identification expected to take place on Friday.

Officers were called by a member of the public at 7.43am on Saturday, who found what they believed to be a body in woodland off of Chadwell Road, in the Norton Green area just outside Stevenage.

Shohfah-El Israel has been found guilty of murdering Hatfield student Joy Morgan and been sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison. Picture: Herts PoliceShohfah-El Israel has been found guilty of murdering Hatfield student Joy Morgan and been sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison. Picture: Herts Police

READ MORE: Suspected body found in woodland just outside Stevenage

On Monday the force confirmed it is pursuing a line of inquiry that it could be the body of murdered University of Hertfordshire student Joy Morgan.

The 20-year-old - who had been studying midwifery at the Hatfield uni - was last seen alive at a church event in Ilford, East London, on Boxing Day 2018, and was reported missing by her mother on February 7.

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Two weeks later, on February 22, this paper accompanied a group of police officers with sniffer dogs who scoured grassland and woodland in the Norton Green area in the search for Joy.

A tent has been put up at the scene. Picture: Matt MargessonA tent has been put up at the scene. Picture: Matt Margesson

Despite the absence of a body, Shofah El-Israel - of Cricklewood, North London - was found guilty of Joy's murder and sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison on August 5 this year, when Judge Michael Soole referred to the 40-year-old's "cruel and cowardly silence about Joy Morgan's final resting place".

READ MORE: Shohfah-El Israel jailed for minimum 17 years for murder of Hatfield student Joy Morgan

El-Israel had met Joy at the Israel United in Christ Church in Ilford, where they were both worshippers.

The discovery comes nearly eight months after police searched an area of Norton Green (pictured) for missing University of Hertfordshire student Joy Morgan. Picture: Callum Allock-GreenThe discovery comes nearly eight months after police searched an area of Norton Green (pictured) for missing University of Hertfordshire student Joy Morgan. Picture: Callum Allock-Green

Following the new line of inquiry, police have confirmed that Joy's family is being supported by specially-trained officers and have asked for their privacy to be respected at this difficult time.

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