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Police hunt for killer as Leanne's body found.

Byline: Alistair Keely

Police launched a murder inquiry yesterday after it was confirmed that a body found in isolated woodland was that of missing teenager Leanne Tiernan.

Detectives said Leanne, aged 16, of Bramley, Leeds, who has been missing since November last year, had been strangled.

The teenager's body was discovered in undergrowth in Lindley Wood, North Yorkshire, on Monday afternoon by a man walking his dog.

Police said yesterday that the body had been found in plastic bags which had been wrapped in a quilt cover.

Initial investigations revealed no evidence of sexual interference, detectives said - adding that the body had not been buried but was concealed in undergrowth and was clothed.

The woods where the body was found are near Otley, West Yorkshire, and officers will continue to search for clues over the coming days.

Detective Superintendent Chris Gregg, of West Yorkshire Police, said it was believed Leanne had been killed somewhere else and her body dumped at the isolated beauty spot.

'We are determined to catch the man responsible for this tragic death. She has been brutally murdered and we want to catch the man responsible,' he said.

The officer added: 'Further tests are being carried out to determine the length of time the body has been there. It is unclear at this stage but it is not believed to have been there since last November.

'I would like to appeal for anyone who may have been in this area recently and who may have information to come forward and contact police. This is a local beauty spot which is regularly used by walkers.'

Leanne was last seen at 4.50pm on Sunday, November 26, last year, when she parted company with friend Sarah Whitehouse near Houghley Gill in Bramley after a shopping trip to Leeds.

Mr Gregg said Leanne's parents Sharon Hawkhead and Michael Tiernan, who are separated, were devastated when told the body was that of their daughter.

'We would like to offer our sympathy to Leanne's family who are deeply distressed,' explained Mr Gregg.

'They are being comforted by family and friends and have support from specially trained police officers.

'They had no idea what had happened to their daughter. It has been agonising. I kept them informed throughout yesterday that a girl's body had been found, but unfortunately I had to give them the terrible news that it was their daughter.

'Leanne was a happy normal teenager. She was a lovely girl and she will be sadly missed by her family and many friends.'

Leanne's grandmother, Kathleen Tiernan, said: 'We are all very shocked and just hope they catch the man responsible.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 23, 2001
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