Body found in Sussex woods confirmed as missing mother

A body found in woods in Sussex on Tuesday belongs to missing person Helen Slaughter, according to Sussex Police.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 9:52 am
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 4:25 pm

This morning, a Sussex Police spokesman confirmed that human remains found in woodland near Barnham Lane in Walberton, West Sussex, on Tuesday morning was the mother-of-three from Barnham.

A police spokesman said: “The death is not being treated as suspicious and the Coroner’s Officer is continuing enquiries.

Next of kin have been informed.”

Helen Slaughter from Barnham

Last night, a post on the Helen Slaughter missing Facebook page, which is run by her family, also confirmed the news.

It said: “It is my sad duty to report that Sussex Police have confirmed that the body found on Tuesday is that of Helen.
“We would like to thank everyone on this page for their thoughts and support over the past months.”

The post was signed off from Jack. Helen has three sons: Tom, Jack and Seth.

The sighting of Helen in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, which ultimately proved to be false

Helen’s disappearance

Police said that Helen was last seen on CCTV leaving her home in Barnham at around 6am on November 1 2017. She was 49 at the time she went missing.

According to an interview with her husband Ken Slaughter , she made her flasks of tea as she would each morning to take to work as Bailiffscourt’s head gardener, but left them behind that morning, along with her car and mobile phone. He said the last time he saw her was when she woke him up asking for him to help look for her wooly hat, which he did and gave to her.

Police search

On the weekend of November 4 and 5, search teams scoured areas near her home, in particular around Fontwell, Walberton, Westergate, Eastergate and Shripney.

A week later, there was a sighting of her possibly visiting her horse at a stables in Slindon.

The family continued to search huge swathes of the local area, visited homeless shelters, contacted everyone she might know and put up posters – even in places she had visited before like Scotland and Cornwall.

A month after she disappeared, Ken also installed a camera in the field where her pony Biena lived in the hope she would come back and check on it. The camera has been checked a few times a day but there had been no sightings, he said.

A few months later, there was an incorrect sighting of her in Chichester. But as the days turned to months, Helen still had not been found.

Possible sighting

On the year anniversary of her disappearance in November last year, Ken appealed for her to come home in a video message.

But in January, the family were handed a spark of hope in the form of a possible sighting in Warwickshire which ultimately proved to be another dead end.

According to Warwickshire Police, a woman that looked similar to Helen was seen at the George Eliot Hospital’s accident and emergency department in Nuneaton on December 30 last year.

Body found

On Tuesday, police confirmed that officers had been called to the woodland near Barnham Lane due to reports of human remains there.

When the remains were discovered, police said officers attended the scene and cordoned off the area so that the body could be recovered and forensically examined.

When the connection was made, Helen’s family was informed and they shared the news on Facebook on Thursday evening, in a post which attracted more than 600 comments of condolences in an hour.