‘Woman with the flower tattoo’ murder victim is finally identified after 31 years as missing Brit Rita Roberts

‘Woman with the flower tattoo’ murder victim is finally identified after 31 years as missing Brit Rita Roberts

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A BRITISH woman has been identified more than 30 years after she was murdered in Belgium.

Rita Roberts, who was spotted because of her distinctive flower tattoo, died along with 21 other women in a case that has baffled police for years.

Rita Roberts was murdered in 1992 when she was 31
Interpol/Belgian Federal Police

Her family identified a unique tattoo in a BBC report that led them to identify Rita[/caption]

The British expat, 31, was found on June 3 1992 in a river in Antwerp. She had been violently killed.

Her family said learning the news of what had happened to her years later was “shocking and heartbreaking”.

“Our passionate, loving and free-spirited sister was cruelly taken away,” they said in a statement shared by police.

“Whilst the news has been difficult to process, we are incredibly grateful to have uncovered what happened to Rita.”

Rita was one of 22 women thought to have been murdered all across Europe under mysterious circumstances almost 50 years ago.

Cops in the NetherlandsGermany and Belgium were left baffled before they came together in a bid to identify the women.

They launched Operation Identify Me and Interpol went public with information about the unidentified bodies in an unprecedented move.

Details about the women, including photographs and even some facial reconstruction was released, including a photograph of Rita’s tattoo.

Interpol chief Stephen Kavanagh said a relative of Rita’s identified her after spotting the distinctive mark – a black rose with green leaves and “R’Nick” underneath – in an article published this year.

The family then travelled out to Belgium to work with investigators on identifying Rita officially.

“A member of Rita’s family [saw] the Identify Me appeal through the BBC and suddenly realised there may be an opportunity that a lost member of their family had actually come to harm,” he told the BBC.

“There’s a terrible contradiction here – we’re proud that we’ve been able to work with member countries, we’re proud that we’ve been able to identify this poor woman, Rita, but we’re also devastated for the family because they’ve lost a loved one through brutal circumstances,” Kavanagh said.

Rita had travelled to Antwerp in Belgium from her home in Cardiff in February the year she died.

A month after she sent her family a postcard for the last time in May, her body was found in the Groot Schijn river lying against a grate.

Her family said she was “a beautiful person who adored travelling” and was close with her relatives.

They added: “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.”

Most of the victims, now known to include Rita who was 31, were believed to be aged between 15 and 30 when they died between 1976 and 2019.

Interpol asked the public for help identifying her by her clothes and shoes
She was presumably wearing the sporty tracksuit and trainers when she was killed
Interpol worked with police from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to identify 22 women killed across Europe – now known to include Rita

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