A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the death of a sex worker. Officers were called to Springwell Road in the Holbeck area of Leeds, early on Wednesday (23 December) where a 21-year-old woman was found unconscious, with serious injuries. She was pronounced dead in Leeds General Infirmary. The victim has been identified as Polish national Daria Pionko.
Police said her injuries were "consistent with an assault". Another sex worker found her in the Emmanuel Trading Estate before alerting a member of the public.
"We can confirm that the victim was a sex worker and the incident has taken place in the managed area where sex workers operate within a defined area during set hours," said Detective Simon Atkinson.
""Clearly a young woman has lost her life in violent circumstances and it is absolutely vital that anyone who saw anything suspicious during the evening and into the early hours contacts us immediately. We are therefore appealing to anyone involved in any aspect of sex work in the managed area in Holbeck to let us know anything they have seen or heard that could assist the investigation."
The scene of the murder, outside a business premises on the Emanuel Trading Estate off Springwell Road, is within the "managed area" of Holbeck district where sex workers in Leeds are allowed to ply their trade without fear of police action, as part of an experiment launched last year. The groundbreaking scheme, means women in the sex trade can operate freely between the hours of 7pm and 7am within the specified area as long as they adhere to a list of rules.
The murder scene is currently being examined by forensic investigators and a post mortem examination is due to take place later today to establish the cause of death. A 38-year-old man has been detained in connection with her death Sky News reports.
Chief Superintendent Paul Money, Leeds District Commander, said: "We are acutely aware that the murder of this young woman will cause understandable concern in the community and we are keen to reassure people that we are doing everything we can to support and assist the investigation. Officers will be focusing increased patrols into the area for the foreseeable future to provide a visible reassurance to people."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team via 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.