Murder probe police search park where human remains found

Police have carried out searches of a park in south London as part of a murder investigation after human remains were found.

A forensic anthropologist confirmed the discovery made on Tuesday in Rowdown Fields near New Addington, Croydon, is human, and believed to have come from one victim, the Metropolitan Police said.

A large police cordon was still in place on Thursday morning, with three forensic vans stationed in Rowdown Fields car park.

Five vehicles containing police dogs arrived at the park, with the animals searching the roadside next to Lodge Lane.

Matthew Popoola, who lives locally, said of the discovery: “It’s quite barbaric. It’s not really a normal thing around this area.

“It’s really shocking to hear there were human remains here.”

Sam Urquhart, who also lives near the park, said she was shocked by the discovery.

The 52-year-old told the PA news agency: “No-one expects body parts to be found, do they?

“I live literally right over there, I used to walk my dog down here all the time.

“I knew there was something serious going on when I saw it was all cordoned off the other day.”

Human remains found in south London park
Members of the public near the scene in Rowdown Fields in New Addington, south London, where human remains were found (Jordan Pettitt /PA)

Detective Inspector Martin Thorpe said on Wednesday: “As you would expect, my team is working extremely hard in the early stages of this investigation to co-ordinate the search effort and carry out inquiries as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

“We are not going to give specific details on our search of the area, but I can confirm that since yesterday we have recovered further remains.

“After consultation with a forensic anthropologist, we are certain that these are human.

“At this time, our search is not complete, and so local people will continue to see officers in the area.

“This is being treated as murder, and we currently believe the remains belong to one victim.

“Samples have be sent away for urgent forensic analysis and I anticipate that a special post-mortem examination will take place later this week.”

Investigators are not yet able to give any information about the victim, including their age, sex, or ethnicity, until further tests are carried out.

Mr Thorpe added: “Our priority is to identify the victim but, until we are in possession of fuller facts, informed by the post-mortem examination, we are not in a position to confirm the person’s age, ethnicity, or gender.

“A family has lost their loved one and, as a team, we are focusing on finding them and securing the answers they will need to come to terms with their loss.”

Superintendent Lewis Collins, who leads policing in the area that covers Croydon, said: “This is a very disturbing discovery and, over the last day or so, the community in our borough has pulled together to give officers the space they need to carry out this important work.

“We are very appreciative of their support and we continue to ask that speculation on this case is kept to a minimum. We will keep people informed as soon as we have updates to share.”