The woman was killed along Salary Brook Trail between 8.30am – 11am on 17 JuneReuters

Police are looking into the possibility a woman who was murdered in Colchester may have been the victim of a Muslim hate crime.

The woman, who has not been identified, was attacked along Salary Brook Trail on the morning of 17 June. Police said the woman was severely beaten and her attacker also used a "knife or other bladed weapon" to kill her.

Essex Police have now said the woman was in her early 30s and wore a dark navy blue full-length robe, called an Abaya, as well as a Hijab headscarf when she was attacked.

While police are yet to uncover a motive for the attack, they are "conscious" that the woman's dress would have identified her as being a Muslim and that this is one of the main lines of the investigation.

However Detective Superintendent Tracy Hawkings added there is "no firm evidence at this time that she was targeted because of her religion".

A 52-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the murder and is currently being questioned at Colchester Police Station.

Hawkings said police are keeping an open mind about the motive for the attack, but added right now it does not appear she had anything stolen from her during the attack.

Officers have also not ruled out a link between this murder and that of James Attfield, a 33-year-old man who died after being stabbed more than 100 times in the town's Castle Park in March.

Hawkings said: "A forensic post-mortem is due to be carried out to establish the cause of death but at this time it would appear that a knife or other bladed weapon was used in this attack.

"The victim also suffered facial injuries but the cause of these has yet to be established.

"We have no further detail on the murder weapon or weapons at this time but if anyone comes across any suspicious items which they think could be connected to this murder we would ask them to call us."

"There are some immediate similarities between this murder and that of James Attfield, but there are also a large number of differences as well," she said.

"There is no current known motive for this attack and we are keeping an open mind, exploring all possible avenues of investigation."

Police are also asking local residents to check their bins and gardens for any possible discarded weapons or blood-stained clothes.

Anyone with any information that could assist the enquiry is asked to contact the Major Investigation Team on 01245 28210301245 282103, Essex Police on 101 or they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 1110800 555 111.