A 32-year-old woman has been arrested after the body of a graduate was discovered in a burning car.
Catherine Wells-Burr, 23, was found in a red Ford Focus which had been abandoned in a field by the side of a road.
A 32-year-old woman was arrested last night on suspicion of murder and currently remains in police custody.
Cops were yesterday probing the possibility she may have arranged to meet her killer at the isolated spot off the A358 in Ashill, Somerset.
Police were called to the vehicle at 6.30am on Wednesday after horrified drivers spotted the blazing wreckage.
Firefighters extinguished the inferno and discovered the body of first class graduate Catherine inside the car.
Detectives later confirmed that they were treating the brunette’s death as suspicious and were searching for her killer.
A mysterious final post on Catherine’s Facebook page – uploaded on August 25 – showed a photograph of a woman reading a book in bed.
Text to the right hand side of the picture reads: “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”
It was ‘liked’ by two of Catherine’s Facebook friends, including her mother Jayne Wells-Burr.
A friend of Catherine’s, who did not wish to be named, said: “I found out this morning and I feel sick, I can’t concentrate and I can’t work.
“I’ve known her for years and she was a lovely girl. Really sweet. I only spoke to her the other day.
“Everyone seems to be feeling down about it.
“This sort of thing shouldn’t happen to anyone, especially not her, she was the nicest girl.
“Whoever did this was evil, pure and simple.”
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Crisp, of Avon and Somerset police, said: “This is a tragic and brutal incident in which a young woman has needlessly lost her life.
“We are working to establish what happened in the early hours of yesterday morning that led to this car being set ablaze.
“I would like to appeal to anyone with any information about this incident to get in touch with us no matter how small you think that piece of information may be.
“In particular I’d like to speak to any motorists who were in the area around the time who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously or anyone crossing the A358.
“It is also very important that we speak to all of Catherine’s friends and associates who she may have socialised with, as well as anyone else who may have any knowledge about her social and private life.”
He added: “Did she know her killer is the question that we’re asking ourselves. “Did she arrange to meet somebody at the location where she met her death?
“These are the things we are seriously considering. Please don’t leave it to others to tell us, call us immediately.”
Officers are not searching for anyone in particular at this stage but they do not believe it was a random attack.
Det Ch Insp Crisp added: “At this moment there is not a specific person we are looking for.
“We are working on the theory that she possible knew the attacker. We do not think this is a random attack but we are not ruling it out.”
Catherine, who lives in nearby Chard, Somerset, with her family, achieved a first class degree in Business Management at Bath Spa University. She went on to work as a business analyst at manufacturing firm Numatic International – best known for their iconic Henry hoovers – in Chard.
Shocked colleagues at the company yesterday confirmed the pretty graduate had been reported missing but said they had not been informed of her death.The red Ford Focus was still burning when police and fire crews rushed to public footpath just yards from the busy A358 road after being altered by a horrified passer-by. Two forensic tents were erected over the crime scene, which is situated in a small wood.
Officers are trying to build a picture of Catherine’s social life and are appealing for information.
Catherine was a member of dating websiteSpeed Date with the user name cafx101 – after her nickname ‘Caf’ – and said she was looking for ‘dating and friendship’.
She describes herself as ‘single’ and described her 5ft 3ins frame as ‘athletic’ and ‘toned’, stating that she had blue eyes and brown hair.
The fun-loving graduate admitted that she had an ex from her past that she considered to be the “one that got away” but said she would not consider contacting them again.
Tributes to Catherine poured in yesterday as news of her death spread among her friends.
Neighbours of the Wells-Burr family home in leafy Redstart Road, Chard, said the tragedy could not have hit a nicer family.
They said the family had lived in the large detached house for 12 or 13 years and had always been friendly.
Hannah Killeen,who lives nearby, said she had played with Catherine and her younger sister Leanne when she was a child.
The 19-year-old childminder said: “She was a lovely girl. She had everything going for her and was really pretty, stunning.
“It’s an awful thing that couldn’t have happened to nicer people.”
Another near-neighbour, 40, who did not wish to be named said the family were “fantastic people”.
She said: “They are lovely. The father will always wave and say hello when you see him in the street.
“I’m just so shocked. I can’t imagine what they must be feeling.”
The headteacher of her former school described her as “friendly and gregarious”.
Maurice Hicks, head of Holyrood Academy in Chard, said: “We are deeply saddened and shocked to hear the news about Catherine.
“She is warmly remembered as a very friendly young person, gregarious and with a great sense of humour.
“Catherine always had a smile and a positive outlook. She was very popular with the other students and had lots of friends.
“Our sincere condolences go to her family and friends at this difficult time.”
Pal Jodie Watson tweeted: “Lost for words. RIP Catherine, such a lovely young lady <3 :(”
Lauren Chubb wrote on Facebook: “R.I.P Catherine Wells Burr..you will be sadly missed she was a really lovely person who would look after me at school and was a good friend..x x x”
Friend Becky Brake tweeted: “It’s bad that it takes a death in the family to realise how important friends&family really are. Never take advantage of anyone! 🙁 #ripcatherine
“Sick to my stomach”
Georga May Down wrote: “Today is one of those days where I’m counting my blessings and appreciating my life & family & life generally. Rest in peace Catherine. Xx”
Catherine worked at engineering firm Numatic, the company responsible for the smiley-faced Henry vacuum cleaners.
The Chard-based firm refused to issue a comment about tragic Catherine, who worked for the company with boyfriend Rafal Nowak.
In her profile on social networking site Look It’s Me, Catherine lists her favourite TV show as Lost, and her favourite food is Nandos.
Fun-loving Catherine wrote her favourite tipple was Cherry Sours and Coke.