About 70 police are investigating the murder of a British woman fatally stabbed while tending to her horses in a pasture.
Hampshire Police have named the victim as 47-year-old Penelope Davis, a mother of five from Blackfield, a village about four miles from where her horses were kept. She was known as Pennie.
Police said Davis, a supermarket worker, suffered multiple stab wounds in the attack. Her body was found by her husband, Pete.
Davis married Pete only in May. Before then, she was known as Pennie Lambert.
Detective Superintendent Paul Barton, who is heading the inquiry, said the post mortem examination confirmed that the cause of death was multiple stab wounds.
“This is therefore a murder inquiry,” he told reporters. He said there was no obvious suspect at this time.
He would not disclose whether a murder weapon had been recovered.
Davis visited her horses every day in the pasture, Barton said.
Davis’s family released a statement describing their devastation over the death of a beloved mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
“Pennie was a remarkable person,” her family said.
“She was a devoted mother of five children, who worked hard to ensure that they had everything they needed. She cared for and supported them in everything they did.
“In May she married her love, Pete, at a joyful occasion surrounded by her loved ones. Pennie was the kind of woman who once she became your friend she was a friend for life. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and grief that her death has caused.
“She was particularly close to her mother, who is devastated by her death and who joins the whole family in appealing to everyone for help in finding the perpetrator of this crime.”
Police are appealing for anyone in the area between 2pm and 5pm on Tuesday to contact them. A group of tourists in an open-top bus are believed to have passed the area and police are keen to know whether any of them took photographs.
Barton said the area was rural but was still busy, with the route used as a shortcut to Lyndhurst.
Police in the area have been seen conducting a systematic ground search, and a tent has been erected over the crime scene.