Detective Inspector Stewart Balmer, of the Major Crime Investigations Team, confirmed: “A murder investigation has been launched and is in its early stages.
“If anyone has any information about this incident I urge them to call Dorset Police at the earliest possible opportunity.”
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene and the coroner has been notified.
Police have not yet said how the woman died, or whether any weapons were involved.
A cordon was established and a section of St Michael’s Road, near Purbeck Road, was closed off while the investigation continued.
Specialist forensics teams entered the property to carry out a detailed search of the scene.
The St Michael’s Road area is popular with tourists, especially weekend visitors, as there are a large number of hotels, hostels and guest houses in the vicinity.
Poole Hill Neighbourhood Watch coordinator Norman Decent said: “There are problems here, including drugs problems, but they’re not unlike what you get in many other areas.
“However, when you get these big episodes it is quite frightening.
“The area is getting better, but it still has its hotspots and you get a lot of stag and hen parties.”
Bart Angus-Hughes, of nearby Purbeck Road, said: “I was painting one of the flats opposite when I heard the sirens and saw two ambulances turn up. I saw the ambulance man running into the building and he was just dashing about. I knew then that it was serious.”
Another local resident, who did not want to be named, added: “I'm pretty shocked there appears to have been a woman killed here.
“Obviously, my thoughts are with the victim's family. Someone, somewhere will soon be getting just about the worst possible news they're ever going to get.”
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