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British 'woman with the flower tattoo' murdered in Belgium identified after three decades as hunt for killer continues
14 November 2023, 10:40 | Updated: 14 November 2023, 12:32
A murdered Brit known as the 'woman with the flower tattoo' has been identified by police after three decades.
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Rita Roberts had been violently killed when her body was found against a grate in the water of the river 'Groot Schijn' near the Ten Eekhovelei in Antwerp, Belgium.
The case dates back to June 1992, just months after Rita moved to Belgium from Cardiff aged 31.
One of Rita's most striking features was a flower tattoo on her left forearm, though the authorities were unable to identify her for decades.
Her identity was confirmed as part of an investigation into the deaths of 22 women carried out by Interpol, who are believed to have been murdered.
Authorities are still hunting for her killer.
Rita's last communication with her family was in May 1992, just one month before she was brutally killed.
'Operation Identify Me' was launched in May this year, which led to her identification after a family member recognised a picture of her tattoo.
“The news was shocking and heartbreaking. Our passionate, loving and free-spirited sister was cruelly taken away," a family statement read.
"There are no words to truly express the grievance we felt at that time, and still feel today.
"Whilst the news has been difficult to process, we are incredibly grateful to have uncovered what happened to Rita."
"We miss her deeply but are grateful for the excellent support and care of Belgium Missing Persons, Antwerp Police, INTERPOL and Durham Police in the UK," it continued.
"This cross-border collaboration has given a missing girl back her identity, and enabled the family to know she is at rest."
They added that Rita was a "beautiful person" that "loved travelling".
Operation #IdentifyMe: UK woman murdered in Belgium identified
"She loved her family, especially her nephews and nieces, and always wanted to have a family of her own. She had the ability to light up a room, and wherever she went, she was the life and soul of the party.
"We hope that wherever she is now, she is at peace.”