November 26 2010
– A high-flying solicitor whose body lay in the boot of a car for up to four days may have been murdered after meeting a new boyfriend through Facebook, detectives believe.
Linda Bakewell, 45, was found strangled three days after being reported missing by worried colleagues when she failed to return to the law firm where she was a director after the weekend.
She was last seen driving away from the office on Friday evening, and police fear she was attacked and killed after arranging to meet the man that night.
Her car has since been found abandoned at a pub, and detectives suspect she met her killer there.
Police were last night questioning Philip Martins, a 47-year-old divorced man with a previous conviction for illegally hoarding rare birds’ eggs, on suspicion of her murder.
Miss Bakewell’s body was found on Wednesday morning in the boot of a car in Widnes, Cheshire.
Police are thought to have been examining the Facebook page on which Miss Bakewell – who was unmarried – had scores of friends.
She and Mr Martins are believed to have met within the past few weeks at a Northern Soul singles night before beginning a relationship over the internet.
Ms Bakewell was last seen leaving a car park in Liverpool City Centre in a silver Nissan Note, similar to the one pictured
Ms Bakewell’s body was discovered in a residential area of Widnes, Cheshire
Last night shocked friends and colleagues paid tribute to Miss Bakewell, who specialised in handling personal injury cases, describing her as ‘caring and considerate’.She had qualified as a solicitor in her early thirties, joining Liverpool firm Armstrongs, to which she returned in August as a director after working at a number of other firms in the city.
The popular lawyer was a regular in the fashionable Ark gym at the Radisson hotel in Liverpool and enjoyed attending soul music nights.
She is thought to have lived alone in a terrace house in a cul-de-sac in Rainhill, Merseyside.
Yesterday former colleague Amy Gibson said: ‘Linda was an amazing person who always helped me and many others.
‘We are all shocked and devastated at her death.’
On Facebook, grieving friends also posted their condolences, with one, Maureen Anderson, writing: ‘She was such a gentle soul.’ Miss Bakewell was last seen driving out of a car park in Liverpool city centre last Friday at 5.10pm in a silver Nissan Note hire car.
Over the weekend, relatives became concerned when they were unable to contact her, and when she failed to turn up for work on Monday colleagues reported her missing.
Yesterday police confirmed that the body of a woman found in the boot of a Rover 75 in Widnes on Wednesday was that of Miss Bakewell.
They arrested Mr Martins on suspicion of her murder, and he was still facing questioning last night. They have also been examining Miss Bakewell’s hire car, which had been left at the Crown and Cushion pub in Penketh.
Mr Martins, a factory worker, lived in Widnes with his wife Amanda until the early 2000s.
They have three daughters, now 23, 21 and 18, and a son aged eight, but later divorced.
Mrs Martins has since remarried.
A neighbour said: ‘His arrest has come as a complete shock to the whole street.’
At the semi-detached home of Miss Bakewell’s elderly parents, Kenneth and Agnes, in Liverpool, a distraught family member was too upset to comment on her death.
Cheshire Police said: ‘The 47-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in custody.’
– James Tozer