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. The woman was found to have come from somewhere in South-East Asia, but despite an international police investigation, the identity of the woman and how she arrived at the location remained a mystery until 2019. The woman was identified in March 2019 through DNA testing.
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. The man had discovered the body in a well-trafficked location on the Pennine Way between Pen-y-ghent and Horton in Ribblesdale in a stream called Sell Gill Beck, which flows into a cave called Sell Gill Hole. It was thought that the body had been in the stream for some time, and that the woman could have died up to three weeks prior to the discovery. The cause of death was not initially apparent, and no signs of violence were reported.
The woman was believed to be of southeast-Asian origin, had dark, shoulder-length hair, and was about 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 m) tall.. Her age was estimated between 25 and 35 years. The woman had healthy teeth with a noticeable gap at the front. Her body was clothed in green jeans and a green-and-white-striped T-shirt; she also wore a wedding ring. The ring was 22-karat gold and made in Bangkok, Thailand. The woman had pierced ears, but no earrings were found. No shoes, warm outer clothing, or other personal effects were found at the site. The woman weighed 10 stone (64 kg) but appeared to have gained weight in the years prior to her death.
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. Police investigated every sighting in the Yorkshire Dales of women matching the description of the unidentified body dating back to 1 August 2004.
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. The postmortem indicated that the woman had probably been pregnant at some point during her life.
A number of countries were identified as the potential origin of the woman. These countries included Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. 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.
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. At this time it was believed that the woman could have originated from the Philippines, China, or Korea. No meaningful response was received from this appeal.
In May 2007 the inquest heard that the investigation found no evidence of trauma, assault, or drowning, and it recorded an open verdict.
On 22 January 2019, a family in Thailand came forward in the belief that they knew the identity of the victim. 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.
On 19 March 2019 North Yorkshire Police revealed that they had identified the body, following DNA testing, as Lamduan Armitage (nee Sekanya). Armitage was married to British lecturer David Armitage (her second husband) in Thailand and moved to Portsmouth in 1991. David Armitage was located in 2019 and denied any involvement in his wife's death. The cause of death remains unknown but police have not ruled out murder.
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