AN oil executive from East Durham who has been missing for more than three months had been stabbed before she was found dead in a lock-up garage.
Carole Waugh, 50, (below)had not been seen by her family in Haswell since mid-April when it is believed they were planning a 50th birthday for her in June.
Her mother mother lives in Alexandra Terrace in the village, but was unavailable earlier today.
Police said a post-mortem examination found a single stab wound and further examinations are expected to establish the exact cause of Miss Waugh’s death.
Miss Waugh’s body was found in a car inside the lock-up garage in south-west London on Thursday night and formally identified yesterday.
Police announced on Wednesday that Miss Waugh’s disappearance was being treated as a murder inquiry and arrested a 47-year-old man on suspicion of kidnap, conspiracy to defraud and murder.
Suspicious financial transactions running to thousands of pounds have also been made using Miss Waugh’s identity since she vanished, and her Cartier jewellery is missing.
Police have appealed for information about the blue Volkswagen Golf where Miss Waugh was found, which has the registration number W466 NHL.
Miss Waugh, who owned a flat in Harrowby Street, Marylebone, was reported missing by her family on May 7. They last saw her at a family party in mid-April.
She had lived and worked in Libya for a number of years, but returned to London in 2008 and would regularly visit relatives in East Durham and Cumbria.
Detectives said she met men through a variety of internet sites, including dating websites, and they were investigating the possibility that she might have been an escort.
So far, a total of 10 people have been arrested in connection with the inquiry into Miss Waugh’s disappearance. At least three women have tried to pose as her since she vanished, police said.
Her flat is in an affluent part of central London and her brother Chris previously said she was “very frugal and careful” with money.
Mr Waugh added: “What I do know about sister is that she’d earned what she’d earned and saved what she’d saved.”
A Cartier white gold bracelet and a yellow gold bracelet have now been recovered, police said, but a Cartier ring and a yellow gold necklace remain unaccounted for.
The man in custody was arrested when he came into Luton Airport on Tuesday, initially on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and kidnap, and then later murder.
Miss Waugh’s former boss, Stuart Anderson, told journalists she had fled Libya after being threatened by someone in Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, but a police spokesman said inquiries are focused in London.
He would not comment on reports that Miss Waugh’s body had been in the garage for months.
Mr McFarlane said since Miss Waugh was last seen alive “significant plundering of her estate has taken place to the value of hundreds of thousands of pounds”.
The lock-up is in a row of garages behind two detached 1930s houses in a quiet street and forensic teams are at the scene.
One man who has worked nearby for about five years said the garages were mainly used for storage by builders.
He said: “There have been some small problems with stolen goods being stored, but certainly no major crime.”