Police Investigate Murder of Artist in Rural Yorkshire, England

A relative of the victim is reportedly in custody.

59-year-old artist and riding instructor Fiona Southwell was murdered. Courtesy Humberside Police.

Police are investigating the murder of an artist in Yorkshire, England, after the body of 59-year-old Fiona Southwell was discovered on a farm near the rural village of Hornsea on Friday evening.

According to the a press release on the Humberside police website, officers have taken a 21-year-old man into custody for questioning. The Yorkshire Post reports that the suspect is thought to be related to the victim.

Local residents said that the woman had lived at the isolated farm for around 18 months, working as a freelance artist to create portraits of horses and pets on commission. Southwell also occasionally worked as a horseback riding instructor.

A painting by Fiona Southwell. Courtesy of the Hornsea Art Society.

A painting by Fiona Southwell. Courtesy of the Hornsea Art Society.

Meanwhile, police have erected a cordon around the farm as well as around an address in the village of Hornsea, located approximately 3 miles north of the crime scene.

“The Major Incident Team is continuing the investigation into Fiona Southwell’s murder and detectives are continuing to piece together how she died,” detective chief inspector Tony Cockerill said in a statement. 

“I am aware that this incident will be a shock to those living in the local area, given its remote and rural location,” he added, before appealing for calm. “It is important to reiterate that murders are extremely rare and crime in general remains very low in the area, so I would urge people not to be fearful.”

Goxhill House Farm. Photo: Google Maps.

Goxhill House Farm. Photo: Google Maps.


The officer called on any people with any information to come forward. “We are committed to identifying those responsible for Fiona’s death and anyone who hasn’t spoken to the police with anything pertinent to the investigation should call the force on 101.”

A local couple speaking to the Yorkshire Post said they were “shocked” to learn of the crime. Stephen and Annmarie Sharp from Kirk Ella said, “It’s such a shame, how awful it is. This is such a family oriented place and so peaceful.” Her husband added, “I am really shocked; it is a really nice part of the world.”

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