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Headless body found in woods baffles detectives

Headless body found in woods baffles detectives as they rule out any link to 1975 murder of mother-of-two

  • Body without a head has been discovered in woodland near Salcombe, Devon
  • The ‘unexplained death’ has sparked major emergency services operation 
  • But police have ruled out the possibility of body linked to infamous 1975 murder
  • Patricia Allen and her children were killed by husband Anthony John Allen but bodies were never found

A headless body has been found by police in woodland, sparking a huge investigation into the death.

Emergency services raced to the scene near the coastal town of Salcombe, Devon on Sunday following reports of a corpse found by a member of the public. 

The death is ‘unexplained’ and a police source has confirmed that the body was found without a head.

A large police presence remains in the town days after the discovery with roads surrounding the scene cordoned off.

A Special Ops tent has been erected next to the woods as a forensic team continue their investigation. 

Emergency services raced to the scene in woodland near the coastal town of Salcombe, Devon on Sunday following reports of a headless corpse being found by a member of the public

The police Devon Rural Communities Officer is understood to be meeting with officials in the town.

The discovery has cast a shadow over Salcombe, which is full to overflowing with tourists, staycationers and second home owners.

The investigation sparked suggestions the body could be linked to a notorious murder in 1975.

Local woman Patricia Allen and her two young children Jonathan and Victoria disappeared 46 years ago from their family home.

Her husband Anthony John Allen, who did not report his family missing, always maintained his innocence and claimed Patricia had left him after discovering he was having an affair with local restaurant owner Eunice Yabsley.

The death is 'unexplained' and a police source has confirmed that the body was found without a head

The death is ‘unexplained’ and a police source has confirmed that the body was found without a head

Although Allen had been the prime suspect at the time of the shock disappearance it was deemed that there was not enough evidence to charge him.

But the case was reopened in 2001 after police discovered the man who Allen claimed had taken Patricia and his children to America had suffered a serious stroke in 1972, leading to him being convicted of the triple murder and being jailed for life.

Their bodies have never been found although it is believed Allen dumped them at sea.

But a senior police source said with certainty that the body which has been found is definitely not that of Patricia Allen.

The investigation sparked suggestions the body could be linked to a notorious murder in 1975. Local woman Patricia Allen (pictured) and her two young children Jonathan and Victoria disappeared 46 years ago from their family home

The investigation sparked suggestions the body could be linked to a notorious murder in 1975. Local woman Patricia Allen (pictured) and her two young children Jonathan and Victoria disappeared 46 years ago from their family home

‘The body that has been found is definitely 100 per cent not that of Patricia Allen,’ they said. 

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police yesterday added: ‘Enquiries remain ongoing into an unexplained death after a body was found in a wooded area near Bennett Road, Salcombe, on Sunday June 27.

‘A number of enquiries will be carried out in Salcombe over the coming days, and it is likely that the local community will continue to see a high level of police activity.’

On Sunday afternoon flash flooding hit South Devon, with water pouring down the steep cliffside in the woods above Salcombe’s Cliff Road.

Then at about 5pm a body was found in the woodlands not far from the Salcombe Harbour Hotel.

The woods below Devon Road and above Bennett Road are popular with dog walkers. They are now cordoned off.

Anyone with information is asked to email [email protected] or call 101, quoting reference number 0700.

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