INVESTIGATORS say it is impossible to establish how Maggie Smythe died due to the absence of still-missing body parts.

Bus station cleaner Maggie, aged 29, was missing for several days in January before she was found dead.

Her former partner Christopher Taylor is on trial at Bolton Crown Court accused of her murder — he has admitted manslaughter. His brother, Brian Ottley, aged 29, denies assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice.

On the third day of evidence, a statement from police officer Jason Shepherd, read out by prosecutor Gaias Gozem QC, told how the 29-year-old’s dismembered body was discovered in a pub car park.

On January 31 officer Shepherd was searching the derelict Red Bridge Tavern, Breightmet, with a dog specially trained to detect human remains.

The dog led him to an area of the car park near the south fence and a saw was found. After a second dog gave the same response the following day, the officers discovered a shallow grave containing a body. Investigators then began excavating and combing the scene, with support from forensic archaeologist Timothy Fletcher, the jury heard.

They uncovered the remains of a woman, naked except for a black bra, laying on her right side, with the left arm and leg and head dismembered and missing.

Mr Fletcher confirmed that due to the way the body had been placed in the grave the severed limbs would have protruded above ground level. He helped the police in their search for the missing body parts.

The body was taken to the Royal Oldham Hospital where it was confirmed to be that of Maggie Smythe using DNA from her tooth brush. A post-mortem examination was carried out by Dr Naomi Carter. Using a model skeleton Dr Carter showed the jury where and how Maggie’s limbs and head had been removed using a saw.

She clarified that this had been done after the death.

Toxicology reports showed traces of cannabis in Maggie’s system but no alcohol.

Defending, Alistair Webster QC questioned Dr Carter about individuals being killed by a single punch. She said: “It is a reasonably common finding, a blow to the face causing someone to fall back and die as a result.”

He also questioned her about the possibility of strangulation or smothering, and discussed Maggie’s history of fitting and blackouts since childhood.

However without Maggie’s head, which is still missing, Dr Carter said her cause of death is unclear.

The jury also heard evidence from forensic scientist John Cullen. He revealed that tests of the saw found at the scene had traces of Maggie’s hair, blood and tissue on it.

Her hair was also on a unopened bottle of rosé wine found at the Red Bridge pub.

Further forensic evidence was found at Taylor’s home in Greenroyd Avenue, including broken Samsung phone belonging to Maggie in the neighbouring alley.

In February some of Maggie’s missing clothes were found in the grounds of St Catherine’s Academy, Breightmet, including a coat, gloves and jeans. The jeans were found to have Maggie’s blood on them and as well as semen, which was also in her oesophagus.

The trial continues.