FOR nearly six years it was the thriller without a final chapter.

Known simply as Doll Face, the main character in this true-life story was the unidentified murder victim whose body was found in a deserted Hampshire orchard.

As detectives were left baffled, rumours abounded that she was a young female spy who had been killed by rivals in a cloakand- dagger underworld.

There were all the makings of a fictional best seller.

Doll Face was found half-naked and her face, covered in a plastic bag, was unrecognisable.

There were no obvious clues to identify her or her killer.

Almost all that police could say, after scientists and pathologists had examined the body, was that the victim had been 5ft 2in, was probably aged between 18 and 25, with dark hair and delicate doll-like facial features.

Within days of the body being found in September 1975, the countys top detectives declared that they believed the dead woman was from mainland Europe C possibly Germany or Spain.

Her stomach contents included partially digested pumpernickel bread, popular in Germany, and her underwear was also made in the same country.

A wire flex C made in Germany C had been used to tie the bag round her head.

It was believed that she had been dead for between a week and a month before her body was found on Watership Down C the setting of the famous novel C near the sleepy village of Ecchinswell in the north of the county.

In the months that followed, the huge murder hunt took detectives all over Britain, to the Continent and even to America.

An incident room set up by police was flooded with hundreds of phone calls from concerned friends and relatives.

The victims description fitted 300 girls reported missing at that time from the London area alone.

Thousands of other cases of missing girls were investigated, but they were all eliminated from the Watership Down murder inquiry.

Detectives took an unprecedented step when they asked a TV make-up expert to undertake themacabre task of producing a death mask.

It sparked media interest across the country and Hampshires Doll Face mystery attracted nationwide coverage. But it brought detectives no closer to the killer.

A year later, following a blitz of anniversary publicity, a Berkshire taxi driver phoned police to say he thought he could help. The caller said he had only just read about the case.

Reports had mentioned that the murder spot was just a mile from the US Air Force base, Greenham Common.

The taxi driver, John Ward, told how in September 1975 he had picked up two fares late at night in Wokingham C a young woman and an American airman.

He said they told him that they had just flown into the country and he drove them to Greenham Common.

The girl C who matched the murder victims description C had mentioned the name Richter, he said, and said that she had worked in a household connected to The Beatles.

The taxi drivers story prompted renewed inquiries, which revealed that an American called Daniel Richter had been John Lennons London agent in the early 1970s.

A Hampshire detective flew out to New York to question Richter and his wife.

Any information they could give might well help to solve the mystery.

The couple vaguely remembered a Spanish girl they had employed as a domestic help who was called Soledad.

However they could not recall her full name, where she had come from or where she was headed when she left them.

Two months after the unpublicised transatlantic trip came the most bizarre twist of all.

In August 1977 a Madrid news magazine ran a story about a Spanish Franco spy called Soledad C the name that had already arisen in Hampshire Polices own inquiries.

It was written by a man dubbed by the press as Deep Throat, his identity has never been established.

The article alleged that Doll Face had been on a secret mission connected with Spanish interests in the Sahara Desert.

It said the girl spy had rendezvoused with a contact in Germany before flying to England, where she was followed and assassinated by the CIA.

Despite the sensational theories, the truth behind the girls identity was to prove a lot more mundane.

Doll Face was in fact an ordinary housewife.

The police finally got the breakthrough they had been waiting for, nearly six years after the murder.

She was identified after a TV programme about the mystery aired in Germany.

The victims mother, who lived in Hamburg, contacted police and asked if the dead woman could have been her daughter, who vanished from London in 1975.

Her worst fears proved correct and Doll Face was identified as Jeanette Hinsch, 28. Her husband, German businessman Ulf Hinsch C who maintained his innocence throughout C stood trial at Winchester Crown Court in 1981.

He said he believed his wife had left him for a lover in 1975 and he had therefore not reported her disappearance.

The court was told she had been unhappy in her marriage and wanted to return home to Germany.

Jeanette had arrived in England in 1973 when her husband was appointed manager of a firm of shipping agents Hinsch was found not guilty of his wifes manslaughter but the jury did decide that he had prevented her burial.

He was jailed for 12 months but because he had been in custody for eight months he was released days later.

ö A Hampshire Police spokesman told the Daily Echo that the case is currently not active and not under investigation.