POLICE investigating the murder of Patricia Lee' Parsons, who was found dead in her car on the edge of Epping Forest 17 years ago, are following up "a number of potential new lines of inquiry."

Mrs Parsons, 42, was found slumped in the driver's seat of her white C-reg VW Golf Cabriolet in Long Street, Upshire, on June 24, 1990.

She had left her home in East Finchley and was on her way to a private party at her boyfriend's restaurant in Harlow but never arrived. The car was spotted in a field by ramblers.

A post mortem showed she died from three deep puncture wounds to the head caused by an unknown implement, and there was speculation that she had been shot with a crossbow.

It is understood the latest developments are the result of a DNA breakthrough which has come about thanks to new technology.

Mrs Parsons, who was married but separated, was last seen when she left her home in East Finchley. When she left home she is said to have been accompanied by a man who was driving the car. She was in the passenger seat.

At the time of her death police appealed for information from anyone who may have seen her parked at the Good Intent pub - close to where her body was found - the evening before the discovery was made.

Detectives also appealed for information from guests at a wedding reception at nearby Upshire Village Hall and wanted to speak to an elderly couple seen in a V-reg brown Mini car in the field in Long Street.

The couple left before police arrived.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said this week: "A number of potential new lines of inquiry have been highlighted."

Mrs Parsons was found dead six months after the murder of Terry Gooderham and Maxine Arnold, whose bodies were found slumped in the front seat of Mr Gooderham's Mercedes car in a forest car park off Lodge Road, Upshire, two miles from where Mrs Parsons was found. Both had been shot in the head. That case is also unsolved.