Body of missing British hiker Stephanie Simpson found in New Zealand national park

14 February 2020, 06:47

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Police have confirmed they have found the body of Stephanie Simpson who was reported missing in New Zealand after failing to return from a day's hiking.

Stephanie Simpson, 32, was reported missing on Monday after she did not turn up to her job as a gardener in the Wanaka area, where she had been living.

She reportedly told friends she had planned to go hiking in Mount Aspiring National Park on the South Island at the weekend.

Sergeant Mark Kirkwood, the officer in Charge, West Coast Search and Rescue confirmed on Friday morning that searchers had located her body.

The discovery was made about 1.40pm in the Pyke Creek area.

The officer said: "Earlier, searchers had found items in the area thought to belong to Stephanie, including a pack and a pair of boots. 

"Police extend their condolences to Stephanie's family at this tragic time. "

It is thought her death is a tragic accident, and has been referred to the coroner.

Stephanie Simpson
Stephanie Simpson. Picture: Family handout

The park on New Zealand's South Island is described by the country's Department of Conservation as a "wonderful mixture of remote wilderness, high mountains and beautiful river valleys".

"It is a walker's paradise and a must for mountaineers," it added.

Police in New Zealand said Ms Simpson, from the Basildon area of Essex, was "reasonably experienced and very fit", the New Zealand Herald reported.

Ms Simpson's parents, Sally and Trevor Simpson, flew out to New Zealand earlier this week to assist with the search to find their daughter.

Her friends have since taken to social media to tribute to her.

Danny Kilbane wrote: “We are all heartbroken and are going to struggle to come to terms with our loss.

“Steph you will be missed by all more than words can explain. RIP angel."