A NEW lead has emerged in an investigation into the mysterious death of a woman in the 1960s.

The woman, who was nicknamed Mary Ellen by police, was discovered in the cellar of a house undergoing renovation in Bromwich Street, The Haulgh, in 1982 — and it is thought she could have been dead as long as 17 years before she was found.

But now a woman, who asked to remain anonymous, has come forward and said she believes the dead woman is her friend Brenda, who she used to go drinking with in the Gypsy Tent pub in 1967.

The clue emerged after the mystery woman featured on a new website which is intended to help police highlight old cases and find missing people.

The woman contacted The Bolton News after reading a story in the paper about the website.

She had not come forward before because she thought the case had been resolved.

The woman said: “I have always thought that it could be Brenda. But a woman came forward and claimed the body was her mother.

“I was sure it was not, and thought I would go to the police if it wasn’t.

“I did not know the outcome of that until I read it in the latest story. I thought now it is time to say something.”

In 2004, the Bolton Evening News was approached by Lily Jones, a Bootle woman who was seeking information about the case. She was convinced the woman was her mother, Ruth Hanratty.

The body was exhumed in 2009 in the hope that modern DNA techniques, not available when she was discovered, could be used, but the tests showed that she was not Ruth Hanratty.

The new informant said: “The reconstruction looks like Brenda. I am 99 per cent sure it is her. Unfortunately I don’t know her surname.”

The woman said “Brenda” lived in the Blackburn Road area and worked as a machinist.

She had a boyfriend called Ray and the last time she saw her they were talking about getting a flat together in Bromwich Street.

The woman said she stopped going to Bolton and lost contact with Brenda after meeting her husband.

A spokesman for the Missing Person Bureau said: “The bureau did receive some information but it hasn't led to an identification yet. It has been passed on to the police for them to follow up.”