The police investigation into the murder of a woman found dead in a Sydney park has reportedly hit a hurdle due to delayed forensics.
Nicole Cartwright, 32, was found dumped in Hunter’s Hill, on Sydney’s lower north shore, in the early hours of October 3 last year.
A worker found Ms Cartwright’s body in a park and forensic tests later revealed it had the DNA of four men on it.
At the weekend, The Sun-Herald claimed homicide detectives have been left waiting for answers as further pathology tests have had to be sent to a lab overseas.
The Herald claimed forensic procedures in the investigation will be conducted in Europe ‘due to a lack of capacity’ at local forensic pathology centres.
But Michael Symonds, from NSW Health Pathology’s forensics units, said the agency has not sent any testing overseas.
When the body of Nicole Cartwright (pictured) was discovered bound and gagged in a Sydney playground, the DNA of several different men was found on it, it can be revealed
Ms Cartwright, 32, was found dumped in a park at Hunters Hill (pictured), on Sydney’s lower north shore, in the early hours of October 3, 2018. No one has been charged with her murder.
‘Further highly specialised neuropathology testing remains underway to complete the final forensic medicine report for this coronial investigation,’ Mr Symonds said.
Daily Mail Australia understands there is currently an international shortage of forensic pathologists as well as neuropathologists, which is impacting timeframes for final coronial reports. The pathology unit is actively trying to recruit overseas specialists for the jobs.
No one has been arrested or charged over Ms Cartwright’s death, although investigators are believed to have identified a prime suspect.
A State Crime spokeswoman repeated a police statement that ‘further tests are being conducted to determine how (Ms Cartwright) died’ following an ‘inconclusive’ post-mortem.
The NSW Health Pathology unit was approached for comment.
Ms Cartwright was last seen on CCTV at Museum train station in the city at 9.14pm on September 30.
Between September 27 and September 30 she travelled across Sydney, visiting Bondi Junction in the east and St Marys in the west.
Her body was discovered about 7.30am by a council worker who had arrived to open the park gates.
Ms Cartwright was suffering severe head injuries and had her hands tied when she was found.
Drag marks almost 30 metres in length were also located through the nearby park.
Police sources said Ms Cartwright was heavily active on sexual fetish websites in the lead up to her death.
It is understood she met the men whose DNA was found on her body through the websites.
Ms Cartwright had been regularly using sexual fetish websites in the lead up to her death. It is through these sites that she met the group of men whose DNA was discovered on her body
As Strike Force Winkurra was launched to investigate her death a number of the men came forward and identified themselves to police.
From these men police have narrowed their investigations down to a single suspect.
A friend of Ms Cartwright said her social media posts became ‘increasingly dark’ in the lead up to her death.
‘She was posting a lot of pictures of herself in corsets and skimpy dresses,’ the friend said.
‘Her makeup got darker, her statuses got darker… we were talking and I think she was going through a really tough time.
The gruesome discovery was made by a council worker at Buffalo Creek Reserve on Sydney’s lower north shore about 7.30am on October 3, 2018
Ms Cartwright (pictured) appeared in good spirits as she walked through a city train station on September 30 last year. This CCTV footage is one of the last times she was seen before she died
‘She did begin to reach out sexually, as a lot of people do when they are struggling.’
It is understood the websites used by Ms Cartwright included Fetlife – a network for ‘BDSM, fetish and kinky’ – and Vanilla Umbrella – a dating app for ‘open minded singles’.
Ms Cartwright’s father said after her death he did not think anything was ‘off’ until he and his wife a news report.
Ms Cartwright’s devastated brother Ben shared an emotional message after his sister’s death was confirmed
A community vigil was held for Ms Cartwright at Buffalo Creek Reserve in the days after she was killed
Dozens gathered at the park where Ms Cartwright’s body was found dumped, suffering injuries to her head and with her hands bound behind her back
‘She wasn’t really missing — she lived here but it wasn’t unusual for her to leave for a week or so,’ Terry Cartwright told The Australian.
‘We heard the description report (on the news) and thought something was off.’
Ms Cartwright’s parents reported her missing after seeing news reports and just 24 hours later were told the devastating news when police identified her body.