Post-mortem tests show film-maker buried in shallow grave had been strangled

A film-maker whose body was discovered in a shallow grave in her garden had been strangled, a post-mortem examination has found.

The body of 34-year-old Laureline Garcia-Bertaux was found buried in Richmond upon Thames, south-west London, after she was reported missing from work.

Scotland Yard said that a post-mortem examination performed on Saturday gave a cause of death as “consistent with compression of the neck”, while toxicology tests are pending.

Laureline Garcia-Bertaux death probe
Laureline Garcia-Bertaux death probe

Police urged anyone who saw or communicated with the French national between March 2 and Wednesday, when her body was unearthed, to get in touch.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, who leads the murder squad, said: “This may have been via phone calls, texts messages, WhatsApp or via any other social media platform.

“Laureline was known to local people as she walked her two dogs each day.”

Detectives are pursuing a number of leads and a crime scene remains in place.

Laureline Garcia-Bertaux death probe
Laureline Garcia-Bertaux death probe

One of her friends, 27-year-old Daniel Hughes, said she had been due to meet with a “charismatic” vet for a coffee on March 3.

She was reported missing after failing to turn up for work at public relations company Golin.

Originally from Aix-en-Provence, France, the 34-year-old had worked with Dame Joan Collins on the 2018 short film Gerry, with the actress saying she was “shocked by the horrifying news” of her death.

Producer and actress friend Hester Ruoff described Ms Garcia-Bertaux as “an amazing individual” and said they had been due to start filming on a new movie next month.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.