The “Woman with the Flower Tattoo” murder victim is finally identified after 31 years as missing British expat Rita Roberts

A British woman has been identified more than 30 years after she was murdered in Belgium.

The massive police case launched to solve Rita Roberts’ murder was dropped when her family discovered her unique tattoo in a BBC report.

Rita Roberts was murdered in 1992 at the age of 31


Rita Roberts was murdered in 1992 at the age of 31
Her family discovered a unique tattoo in a BBC report that led them to identify Rita


Her family discovered a unique tattoo in a BBC report that led them to identify RitaPhoto credit: Interpol/Belgian Federal Police

The British expat sent her family a postcard in May 1992, a month before her body was found.

Her family said the news was “shocking and heartbreaking.”

“Our passionate, loving and free-spirited sister was cruelly taken away,” said a statement shared by police.

“Although it was difficult to process the news, we are incredibly grateful to have found out what happened to Rita.”

Rita was one of 22 women believed to have been murdered under mysterious circumstances across Europe almost 50 years ago.

Police in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium were stumped before convening in a large gathering to identify the women.

They launched Operation Identify Me and, in an unprecedented move, Interpol released information about the unidentified bodies.

Most of the victims, including Rita, were believed to be between 15 and 30 years old when they died between 1976 and 2019.

Details about the women, including photos and even some facial reconstructions, including a photo of Rita’s tattoo, were released.

Interpol chief Stephen Kavanagh said in an article published this year that a relative of Rita identified her after spotting the tattoo – a black rose with green leaves and “R’Nick” underneath.

She had traveled from her home in Cardiff to Antwerp in Belgium in February of the year she died.

A month after her last contact with her family in May, her body was found in a river following a violent murder.

Her family said she was “a beautiful person who loved traveling” and was close with her family.

They added: “She had the ability to light up a room and wherever she went she was the life and soul of the party. We hope that wherever she is now, she is at peace.”

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John Verrall

John Verrall is a Nytimas U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. John Verrall joined Nytimas in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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