Tributes paid to mudslide victim
Tributes have been paid to a stalwart of the Women's Institute who died when a car she was in was buried in a landslide.
Rosemary Snell, who was in her 60s, had been reported missing along with an unnamed man. Police inquiries traced the pair to the Beaminster area, near Dorchester, on July 7, which coincided with heavy rain and a landslide that closed the Beaminster Tunnel.
Excavations of the mud and debris by the fire service located a car at the entrance of the tunnel. Ms Snell's body was found inside the car, which was discovered on Monday evening.
It is feared that Ms Snell and the man, who has not been named, were buried in their car for more than a week after heavy rain and flooding brought down several hundred tonnes of mud and rubble on to the road and surrounding area.
The A3066 road, which runs through the tunnel, has been closed since the landslide.
Ms Snell, who played an active role in her local branch of the Women's Institute, was well known in the village of Misterton, near Crewkerne, Somerset.
David Welsh, chairman of Misterton Parish Council, described her as a well-educated woman who was involved in the Women's Institute and other local groups.
Ms Snell was a registered London tour guide and was a member of The Guild of Guide Lecturers, where she listed her interests as antiques, gardens and social history.
One villager added: "I think everyone knew her in the village. She had a magnificent spirit and was most enjoyable company socially. Everyone will be terribly shocked by this."
Explaining why it took so long to find the car, Assistant Chief Constable James Vaughan of Dorset Police said emergency services had searched the tunnel but did not find any vehicle. "There was no sign of any vehicle and, at this time, there were no reports of any missing people in the surrounding area," Mr Vaughan said. "It wasn't obvious in any way, shape or form that a vehicle was there."