UK police go to Thailand to solve woman’s mysterious murder 19 years ago

Lamduan Armitage via BBC

Nearly 19 years after a Thai woman‘s half-naked body was found in a stream in the Yorkshire Dales, UK police officers have come to Thailand to try and solve the suspected murder case.

Police want to question David Armitage, her husband who now lives in Thailand, and the woman’s parents.

Hikers noticed the body of Lamduan Armitage, formerly Lamduan Seekanya, in a stream after stopping to pose for a photo near Pen-y-ghent in northern England’s Yorkshire Dales on September 20, 2004.

She was found wearing only green jeans, socks, and a gold wedding ring. A t-shirt was found nearby.

Lamduan’s cause of death was never identified. However, there were “no signs of violence.” Hypothermia was ruled out. Investigators believe she was killed around three weeks before her body was dumped.

North Yorkshire Police identified her as a “Thai bride” who they suspect was murdered, but they couldn’t identify her at the time.

In 2007, Lamduan was buried in Ribblesdale in England. Her headstone read, “The Lady of the Hills.” More than 40 people attended her funeral, paid for by locals.

It wasn’t until 15 years after her death that Lamduan was identified. In 2019, a family in Udon Thani in northeast Thailand came forward to say they thought their missing relative could be the “murdered Thai bride” after reading a BBC article.

DNA tests confirmed that the Lady of the Hills was the daughter of Buasa and Joomsri Seekanya, a Thai couple from Udon Thani in Isaan.

Police learned that Lamduan moved to the UK in 1991 with David Armitage after they were married in Thailand. They lived together in northern England prior to her suspected murder and had two children together.

Her body was found 25 kilometres away from her home in Burton-in-Kendal in Cumbria.

Allegedly, David Armitage told the Sun from his home in Thailand, “I didn’t kill my wife. Absolutely not.”

Cold case officers hope to speak to David, who is an English teacher at Kanchanaburi Rajabhat University, living in Thailand with his children.

Lamduan’s mother Joomsri said in 2016, Lamduan and David’s son visited their home, looking for his mother…

“He said his father had told him Lamduan left him and returned to Thailand to marry someone else.”

Joomsri said that shortly before she disappeared, Lamduan rang her on the phone…

“She said she had no money, not even a single penny. She said she missed home so much.”

“It was a short call. We’ve not heard from her since.”

After Lamduan was identified in 2019, any progress in the case was halted by the pandemic which police say prevented cold case officers from heading to Thailand to investigate the crime.

Investigating officer Adam Harland told the BBC

“We want to build up a picture of what Lamduan was like, what was going on in her life, and try and find some explanation for why she ended up in a beautiful but remote spot on the Yorkshire Dales.”

UK police travel to Thailand to solve mysterious death of Thai woman 19 years ago
A group of walkers posed for a photo before noticing Lamduan’s body in the stream | Photo via BBC

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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