Murder investigation launched after woman’s body discovered in Romford

A woman whose body was found in shrubbery in Romford this week is believed to have been murdered.

Homicide detectives are investigating after the body was discovered on Tuesday, May 4 by a man who was out walking his dog in Little Heath.

The body has since been identified as that of Maria Jane Rawlings, a 45-year old mother of two daughters. She lived in the Chelmsford area.

The body of Maria Rawlings was discovered in Romford on Tuesday afternoon

A post-mortem examination at Walthamstow Mortuary on Wednesday, May 5, gave a preliminary cause for her death as neck compression and possible blunt force head trauma.

Maria attended Kings Georges Hospital in Goodmayes, Ilford on the evening of Monday, May 3. She then left the hospital and made her way on foot to Barley Lane in the direction of the A12.

It is believed that whilst walking on this road, someone may have approached her.

Any members of the public who believe that they have information that could assist police are asked to approach officers in the area or to call the incident room on 020 8345 3865.

Detective Chief Inspector David Hillier is leading the investigation. He said: “My team and I are working around the clock, following a number of enquiries in our work to establish what happened to Maria. Her family are understandably distraught and we are doing all we can to help them as they begin to come to terms with their loss.

“Now I am asking for the public to help us. I want to hear from anyone who knew Maria and knows about where she had been and who she had been associating with. Have you seen her in the area in the company of another person? Had you recently heard or seen a disturbance or struggle in the area but did not think it significant at the time? You might have dash cam or doorbell footage that could have captured her – please think carefully and, if you can help, contact police.”

Ch Supt Stephen Clayman, BCU Commander for Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge, said: “I understand the concerns around safety that will arise from this, particularly from women, and we have increased patrols in the area from our local policing teams. Community safety remains a high priority and I urge anyone who has any concerns to speak to my officers when you see them or contact us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police via the incident room on 020 8345 3865; via 101 or tweet @MetCC and quote CAD3551/4May.

Anyone with footage can upload it via the following link: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/01MPS21S25-PO1

Mick Ferris

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