Man arrested on suspicion of murdering missing Lewisham woman

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a missing woman from south-east London.

Maureen Gitau, 24, was reported missing by her family on Saturday December 10, having last been seen five days earlier on Monday December 5 as she left her home in Evelyn Street in Deptford, Lewisham, the Metropolitan Police said.

On Friday, a 54-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of her murder and he remains in police custody.

Inquiries indicate Ms Gitau and the arrested man knew each other, Scotland Yard said.

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, who leads the investigation, said: “This arrest is a significant development in what is now being treated as a murder investigation.

“Whilst we have not located Maureen’s body we have reason to believe she has come to serious harm and has likely been killed.

“Maureen’s family have been informed and they will be supported by specialist officers.

“This news has come as a terrible shock.

“My thoughts, and those of my team, are with them at this very difficult time.”

In a Met Police appeal for information issued last weekend, the force provided a statement from Ms Gitau’s mother Jane, which said: “It is so hard not to have Maureen at home with us, especially at Christmas.

“Maureen is much-loved and is such an important part of our lives.

“We are desperate to have her back home with us.

“If anyone knows where Maureen is, let us know. Maureen – please come home to us.”

At that time, Detective Sergeant Clare Esplin said: “While there is no evidence that Maureen has come to any harm, the longer she has been missing and out of contact, the more the concern grows amongst her family and friends as they seek news to confirm she is safe and well.

“Since Maureen was reported missing a great deal of work has gone into trying to locate her ,including speaking to those who know Maureen, mobile phone work and checking any known addresses Maureen could have links to. Unfortunately, this work has yet to lead to us locating her.”

Public appeals were issued for help in finding Maureen but she has not been seen or heard from since the day of her disappearance, the force said.

As concerns grew for her wellbeing, detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command were brought in to assist and later take on the investigation, it added.

Police are asking anyone who knew Maureen and who saw her on December 5 in the Deptford area, or anyone who believes they have information that could assist their investigation, to call 101, giving the reference 3230985/22.

Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.