Missing British backpacker, 32, is found dead after she disappeared while out hiking in New Zealand
- Stephanie Simpson, 32, from Essex, went hiking in Mount Aspiring National Park
- Alarm was raised when she failed to turn up at her landscaping job on Monday
- Police in New Zealand have now confirmed they have found her body
A missing British backpacker has been found dead after she disappeared while out hiking in New Zealand.
Stephanie Simpson, 32, was last seen by fellow hikers in Mount Aspiring National Park on the South Island on Saturday.
The alarm was raised when Miss Simpson, from Essex, failed to turn up at her landscaping job on Monday.
Police in New Zealand found her body around 1.40pm local time on Friday near an area of the park called Fantail Falls.
Stephanie Simpson, 32, told friends on Friday she was going hiking over the weekend at Mount Aspiring National Park on the South Island had not been seen since Saturday morning
It comes after search teams zeroed in on the area after finding her backpack and hiking boots earlier in the day.
It was not immediately clear how she died, and her death has been referred to the coroner.
Sergeant Mark Kirkwood said that her family were grieving and had asked for privacy.
He added: ‘The search was extremely challenging at times, especially in consideration of the terrain, and the work of all involved is to be commended.’
Miss Simpson was on a working holiday in New Zealand and had been based out of the town of Wanaka, where she had been working for a gardening service.
Sam Hazelton, her brother-in-law, said she had chosen the region for its access to hiking trails, and that she would go hiking and camping most weekends.
Speaking to Sky News before her body was found, he described her as ‘very competent and physically fit.’
‘She is relatively experienced in outdoor activities and has already completed a number of hikes,’ he said.
‘She is such a fun-loving, kind, determined and adventurous woman, we are asking anyone who might know anything to please get in touch with police.’
The park on New Zealand’s South Island is described by the country’s Department of Conservation as a ‘wonderful mixture of remote wilderness, high mountains and beautiful river valleys.
‘It is a walker’s paradise and a must for mountaineers.’