1. ITV Report

Police appeal for information after murder of Cheshire woman

Diana Lee was found dead in her home Photo: Cheshire Police

Detectives investigating the murder of a woman found dead in her East Cheshire home by firefighters have released an e-fit of a man they want to trace in connection with the killing.

The body of Diana Lee, 54, was discovered in her home in Byley Lane, in the village of Cranage, near Holmes Chapel, at around 11am on Thursday, August 9.

Ms Lee, the owner of a luxury cattery, had died from head injuries and was found in the garage of her home by fire crews called to tackle a blaze.

Detectives investigating the murder have released an e-fit of a man in a hooded top who was seen trying to set fire to the victim's car on the morning the body was discovered.

Police have released an efit of man they want to trace Credit: Cheshire Police

Police are also appealing urgently for the public's help as they attempt to piece together the victim's final hours. Detectives believe the killer may have been a friend, an associate, or in some way knew Ms Lee as there was no sign of forced entry at her house.

They also think that the killer is likely to have knowledge of the Cranage, Holmes Chapel and Mobberley areas and most likely will have been acting differently since the morning of Thursday, August 9.

On the evening before she was found dead, Ms Lee had joined friends for dinner in Knutsford. Friends described her as being happy and sociable during the evening and raised no concerns about her.

The investigation so far has established that she left the restaurant at around 10.15pm and her car, a Silver Corsa registration number SA59NOU, was then recorded on a traffic monitoring camera at 10.35pm.

Detective Superintendent Martin Cleworth, of Cheshire Police, said: "What is of interest to us is that Diana was in fact heading away from her home, north out of Knutsford after she left the restaurant. Some 42 minutes later at 11.17pm, Diana was heading back towards her home address in Cranage, south on the A50. We consider Diana's final movements as significant - we do not know where she went between these times or who she may have met."

A 48-year-old man, from Hale in Manchester, was arrested on suspicion of murder. He has since been released on police bail pending further investigations. Anyone with information is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting Operation Springfield or alternatively Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police want to trace a man they think may have ridden way on a bike they believe belonged to Ms Lee Credit: Cheshire Police