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Murder investigation launched after woman, 53, is found dead on farm

Police launch murder investigation after finding 53-year-old woman’s body in bull pen at horse farm and arresting man, 26

  • Katherine Bevan, 53, was found dead in farm building in Gittisham, East Devon 
  • Man, 26, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in custody
  • Detectives have launched a murder investigation today following post-mortem  

A murder investigation is underway today after the body of a 53-year-old woman was found at a farm. 

Katherine Bevan was found dead in farm buildings in Gittisham, near Honiton in East Devon, on Friday 3 January.

A 26-year-old local man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody. 

Ms Bevan was found on Coombe Farm Arabian’s in Gittisham, Honiton, after police were called to the scene around 10.45pm ‘following concerns for the welfare of a woman.’

She was confirmed dead at the scene in a bull pen. Her next-of-kin have been informed.

The cause of death was not initially treated as suspicions by police, but following a post-mortem on Saturday, officers from the Major Crime Team based in Exeter have today launched a murder investigation. 

Anyone who feels they have information that could assist the investigation is urged to contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 101, quoting reference 817 of 03/03/2020.



A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Emergency services attended the scene and located the local woman, in her 50s, nearby. She was sadly confirmed deceased at the scene.

“Her next of kin have been informed. The Health and Safety Executive have been informed.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.”

Ambulance crews also attended the incident.

A spokesperson for South Western Ambulance Service said: “South Western Ambulance Service was called on January 3, at around 11.20pm, to attend an incident at an address in Gittisham, Honiton.

“We attended the scene with a land ambulance crew and two other paramedics.”

The farm is owned by Michael Harris who has been breeding and training show and endurance horses at Combe Farm for nearly 40 years.

He started his career with thoroughbreds, breeding a Newmarket 6 furlong track record holder and standing Sousa, a highly successful racing and eventing stallion at stud – sire of a second place winner in the Grand National.

He judges Arabians nationally and internationally, was director of the Royal Stud of Oman and is a past president of the Arab Horse Society.

Mr Harris said: “It’s a tragedy. Everyone is very upset about it.

“She was a great friend to many people and a very special person.”

A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Executive said: “This is a joint police/ HSE investigation. At the moment the police have primacy of the investigation, and so we are not able to comment at this time.”

An inquest will be held into the woman’s death at a later yet to be confirmed date




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