Human remains found in a nature reserve are those of a woman who had been murdered and dismembered, police have said.

A body was found by a member of the public in a shallow grave in woodland at Corstorphine Hill, Edinburgh, on Thursday afternoon.

A post-mortem was carried out yesterday following detailed investigations at the scene, police are appealing for help to identify the victim.

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Detective Chief Inspector Keith Hardie of the Specialist Crime Division’s Major Investigation Team said: “The victim’s body had been dismembered before it was buried on Corstorphine Hill. We believed this may have been within a time frame of a matter of a few weeks but possibly as much as six months.

"This is a murder investigation and our immediate focus is on identifying this woman, and establishing the circumstances around her death."

Earlier this week, police confirmed that the body was not that of missing Suzanne Pilley, 38, who went missing from her Edinburgh home more than three years ago.

Chief Inspector Hardie added: “This is someone’s daughter, it may be someone’s mother and I am appealing to the public to consider if there is a mother, a daughter or a friend you have not seen or heard from for the past few weeks or months, and the person fits the following description I would urge you to contact us now.

“We know the lady was white, middle aged, slim and of medium build and short in height. She has had significant cosmetic work on her teeth. We have also recovered a number of rings and two of these are distinctive, both are gold in appearance with one in the design of a daisy and the other is heart shaped.

“I feel confident that someone will recognise the description of the lady’s teeth and the rings, together with the general description of a slim middle aged lady who has disappeared.”

Mr Hardie also said he thought the body was dismembered elsewhere and later taken to Corstorphine Hill. He is asking people who use the nature reserve to go to police if they saw anyone who could have been involved in depositing the body in this area.