‘We need to know’ – Hawick family’s agony a year after mum found dead

Betty Brown, whose body was found on January 18 last year at Longtown, Cumbria
Betty Brown, whose body was found on January 18 last year at Longtown, Cumbria

tHE daughter of a Hawick woman whose body was found a year ago still hopes the cause of her death will be discovered.

This Wednesday is the first anniversary of Betty Brown being found in woods near a disused quarry at Longtown in Cumbria.

Crimewatch still of Sarah Smith (daughter of Betty Brown)

Crimewatch still of Sarah Smith (daughter of Betty Brown)

Police believe the 56-year-old grandmother could have been murdered but have scaled back their investigations.

Her daughter, Sarah Smith, 25, who lived with her mum in Hawick for ten years before moving to Gretna, is desperate to find an answer to the mystery.

The mother of three told TheSouthern: “I just want anyone who might have seen her to contact the police. They might be too scared to come forward but I would urge them to pluck up the courage and go to the phone.

“We have had a funeral for her, but the family needs some closure as to what happened.”

Betty went missing from her Edinburgh home 20 months ago, having moved to the capital from the Teviotdale town, and was last spotted on May 28, 2010 on a bus on Nicolson Street. It is believed she travelled on the X95 bus which runs from Edinburgh to Carlisle, but attempts by police officers to track down information from passengers on the route, and BBC TV’s Crimewatch programme screening a reconstruction of her journey, were unsuccessful.

Mrs Smith, who was pregnant with youngest son Reece at the time of her mother’s disappearance, said: “We were hoping for a better response from the Crimewatch appeal but it didn’t really happen, apart from a few people saying that thought they had spotted her on a bus.

“My thoughts are that she was coming to visit me, otherwise she would not come down here.

“But she did not come to visit off her own bat and it would be arranged that she was picked up from the bus.

“It was totally out of character for her to come down here on her own.”

Reflecting on the year since her mum’s body was discovered, Mrs Smith said: “It has been very difficult for us all but slightly easier for me as I have my kids and husband to support me.

“For the rest of the family, it has been more difficult, especially my two brothers, Stuart and Jason, who live alone.

“She was a very happy person. She had lots of hobbies such as walking and swimming or going for a wee drink with her friends.

“It may take months or years but we need to know what happened that day.”

DCI Jeff Ashton of Cumbria Police said the force have made “exhaustive attempts” to find out what happened to Mrs Brown.

He said: “We conducted a number of appeals in the local media and on BBC Crimewatch, and followed a number of leads, but these have so far failed to answer our questions.

“The investigation remains active, but has been scaled back until we receive new information or a new lead.

“The more significant anniversary for us was a year on from her disappearance on May 28, 2010, as we have always hoped that we would be able to trace someone who saw what happened to Betty after she was last seen on the Number 3 bus in Edinburgh that day.

“We believe she then travelled south on the X95 bus from Edinburgh to either Gretna or Cumbria.

“For Betty’s family, January 18 is the more significant anniversary.”

Anyone with information on Mrs Brown’s last movements should call 101 and asked to be put through to Cumbria Police.