POLICE have been continuing to investigate human remains a week after they were found in a cesspit in Kempsey.

West Mercia Police confirmed yesterday that the bones, which were discovered at the bottom of a septic tank, are that of an adult female.

Villagers have named her locally as missing woman Brenda Venables.

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Detective Chief Inspector Carl Moore said: "The bones will now be forensically tested to try to obtain DNA for identification purposes.

"We are doing our utmost to identify the remains - so that a family can have closure and lay their loved one to rest.

"Unfortunately, this can be a lengthy process but we are committed to identifying who this is and will update the community in due course."

Police had previously said one of their multiple lines of enquiry into the unexplained death is that it is linked to a woman who went missing in 1982. Although police have not officially said it is Mrs Venables, the 48-year-old disappeared from her farmhouse home in the early hours of May 4 of that year.

Maintenance workers found the bones and alerted police to the grim discovery on July 12. A West Mercia Police spokesman has said no arrests have been made, and none would be until the remains are formally identified.

Although officers have not confirmed the exact location, national newspapers have reported the remains were found at Quaking House Farm in Bestmans Lane, which was owned by the Venables family and where Mrs Venables went missing. Mrs Venables ran a nursery on the side while her husband had a piggery nearby on their 500 acres of land. It is understood the pair didn’t have any children.

Her husband David, now 86, reportedly sold the farmhouse in 2014 and still lives in the village. Mr Venables has declined to comment on developments, telling reporters this week: “I have nothing to say on the matter.”

The disappearance of Mrs Venables remains one of Worcestershire’s biggest mysteries. Two days after she went missing Mr Venables told this paper he had been waiting anxiously by his phone, hoping for news.

“I just woke up to find that she had gone,” he said.

“She has never done anything like this before and I haven’t the faintest idea what happened to her.”

Mr Venables also said at the time she had been suffering from depression as a result of “a recent bout of flu”.

The police search involved a helicopter checking the banks of the river Severn, and tracker dogs searched farm buildings and derelict properties. The search was assisted by Mr Venables and neighbours.

A week after the disappearance in another story, Mr Venables said: “I am just hoping and praying she is safe and well. I shall continue the search but I just don’t know where to look.”

Mrs Venables’ name was added to her parents’ gravestone, which is in the graveyard at St Michael’s Church in Rushock. Her year of death is recorded as being 1982, and a family source has told the Daily Mail this was done as a way of remembering her, despite the absence of a body to bury.

After the Worcester News revealed the grim discovery on Tuesday there was initial speculation it was thought to be connected to the Met Police’s search for murdered estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, but police later ruled that out.

Villagers have spoken of their shock at the discovery after a week in which the media spotlight has been on Kempsey.

Councillor Bob Bowley said: “Not a good thing for any village.”

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