Murder investigation launched after woman, 53, is found dead on farm


Police arrest man, 26, for murder following post-mortem on body of 53-year-old author two weeks after her death on farm in picturesque Devon village was ruled as not suspicious

  • Katherine Bevan, 53, was found dead at at Combe Farm in Gittisham, East Devon
  • Just last month Ms Bevan published a book about her experiences on the farm
  • Man, 26, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in custody
  • Detectives have launched a murder investigation today following post-mortem  

A murder investigation is underway today after the body of a 53-year-old author was found in a bull pen at a farm. 

Katherine Bevan was found dead at Combe Farm Arabians in Gittisham, near Honiton in east Devon, after police were called around 10.45pm ‘following concerns for the welfare of a woman’ on Friday.

A 26-year-old local man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody.   

The death was not initially treated as suspicious by police but following a post-mortem, officers from the Major Crime Team in Exeter have today launched a murder investigation. 

Just last month Ms Bevan published a book about her experiences at Combe Farm. 

Ms Bevan had recently written a book on her love of cows, entitled Knowing Daisy

Ms Bevan had recently written a book on her love of cows, entitled Knowing Daisy

Farm owner Michael Harris said: 'Katherine was a very, very dear friend and a wonderful person. She was the most amazing person and we miss her so very much'

Farm owner Michael Harris said: ‘Katherine was a very, very dear friend and a wonderful person. She was the most amazing person and we miss her so very much’

Just weeks ago, Ms Bevan penned a book about her life on the farm

Just weeks ago, Ms Bevan penned a book about her life on the farm 

Ms Bevan was confirmed dead at the scene in a bull pen. Her next-of-kin have been informed. 

In Ms Bevan’s book, ‘Knowing Daisy’, she wrote: ‘I could have no idea of what lay ahead and how this tiny brown calf staring back at me would change my life forever. A true story.’

In it she revealed she was ‘brought’ to the farm five years ago by the horses – but stayed as she fell in love with a herd of cattle.

She described the farm as ‘the most perfect location I have ever found. A stunning landscape, amazing views and a charm all its own.’

She wrote: ‘It was horses that first brought me to Combe Farm but it would be cattle who would change my life forever.’

The book focuses on the relationship she shared with Daisy, a cow she met four years ago when it was just a few days old. 

In addition to her work on the farm, Ms Bevan also worked at the Vale Veterinary Group as a stock manager.

The farm is owned by Michael Harris who has been breeding and training show and endurance horses there for nearly 40 years.

He also judges Arabians nationally and internationally and was the director of the Royal Stud of Oman and is also a past President of the Arab Horse Society. 

Mr Harris said: ‘It’s a tragedy, everyone is very upset about it. She was a great friend to many people and a very special person.

 ‘Katherine was a very, very dear friend and a wonderful person. She was the most amazing person and we miss her so very much.

‘Everyone here is obviously very upset but we have been told by the police we can not say anything at the moment.’ 

The murder has rocked the village of Gittisham, in Devon (pictured)

The murder has rocked the village of Gittisham, in Devon (pictured)

A Devon and Cornwall police spokesman said yesterday: ‘Police have launched a murder investigation following the discovery of a woman’s body in farm buildings in Gittisham, near Honiton, on Friday 3 January.

‘Emergency services were called at around 10.45pm. Sadly Katherine Bevan, aged 53 and from Gittisham, was declared deceased at the scene. Her next of kin have been informed.

‘A post mortem was completed on Saturday 18 January at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

‘As a consequence, officers from the Major Crime Team based in Exeter have launched a murder investigation. A 26 year old local man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He remains in police custody at this time.’

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is urged to contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 101, quoting reference 817 of 03/03/2020. 

Katherine Bevan was found dead at Combe Farm Arabians in Gittisham, near Honiton in East Devon

Katherine Bevan was found dead at Combe Farm Arabians in Gittisham, near Honiton in East Devon

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