Body found in woodland near Stevenage is female, Herts police confirm
PUBLISHED: 14:15 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:25 09 October 2019
A post-mortem has established that a body found in woodland near Stevenage at the weekend belonged to a female.
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.
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.
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.
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.