Body burnt in car park was woman

A badly burnt body discovered among the debris of a fire in a supermarket car park is that of a woman, police have said.

The remains were found by a police dog handler at Sainsbury's in Chippenham, Wiltshire on Tuesday morning.

The body was so badly burnt that officers could not initially identify the age or sex of the victim. Following a post-mortem examination detectives now say the body is that of a woman in her 40s.

It is too early to say whether the incident is suspicious but inquiries continue, including scouring CCTV from the area, Wiltshire Police said.

One line of inquiry concerns three people seen filling a jerrycan with fuel at a garage near the fire, although police said they are keeping an open mind about this.

The discovery was made after the dog handler, on routine patrol, spotted a fire in the car park. After the blaze was put out, police found the body within the debris and launched a major investigation.

Forensic officers were called to the scene in Bath Road to search for evidence, after the supermarket was closed and the car park cordoned off by police. The body was removed from the scene and taken to the mortuary in Flax Bourton, near Bristol, for further forensic examination.

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward if they were in the area or went through the car park in the early hours of August 7.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Power said: "We would like to hear from anyone who was in and around the area of the Sainsbury's car park between the hours of 1.30am and 3am. The car park is quite active late at night, as people drive through to use the cashpoint or walk through as a short-cut.

"In particular, we would like to hear from you if you were driving through the car park or if you were the young couple who were spotted walking through the car park holding hands. You may hold information that would assist us in our inquiries, so I would urge you to speak to us."