UPDATE: Police pay tributes to colleague in Lurgashall murder investigation

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The police detective at the centre of a murder investigation, whose body was found in woodland near Lurgashall has been described as an ‘exceptional officer’ by colleagues.

Police have confirmed that the body found in Blackdown Woods on Sunday, October 16, is that of 33-year-old Heather Cooper.

Officers were called shortly before 11.30pm on Sunday to a report of a concern for safety and firstly attended an address in West Street, Haslemere, mother-of-two Miss Cooper lived.

Her partner, 35-year-old Peter Foster, who was a policeman until two years ago and lived at the same address, has been arrested on suspicion of her murder.

Miss Cooper was a serving detective constable with Surrey Police having joined the force in 2003 and worked in the Public Protection Investigation Unit based at Guildford Police Station.

During her career she received several letters of praise from senior officers for her work on various crimes and in 2009 was given a commendation by the force in recognition of her “professionalism, dedication and commitment”.

She was on maternity leave at the time of her death.

Surrey and Sussex Assistant Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: “Heather’s death has had a profound effect on all who knew her and we are doing everything we can to support her family at this difficult time.

“She was an exceptional officer and much loved among her police colleagues, many of whom were also her friends.

“The police service is in many ways like a family. The death of any officer is always a time of sadness but to lose Heather under such circumstances has been particularly hard to bear.

“I cannot praise enough the professionalism of Heather’s friends and colleagues within the force, many of whom have continued to do their jobs at a time of personal grief.”