Mum, 45, found dead in bush by dog walker sparking murder probe

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A mum was found dead in bushes by a dog walker.

Maria Jane Rawlings, 45, was discovered in Little Heath, Romford in east London.

A member of the public found her body in shrubbery at around 2pm on Tuesday, 4 May.

Police said the mum-of-two, from Chelmsford, Essex is believed to have been murdered.

A post-mortem was carried out at Walthamstow Mortuary, in east London, on Wednesday, 5 May.

It gave a preliminary cause for her death as neck compression and possible blunt force head trauma.

Detectives said she went to Kings Georges Hospital in Goodmayes, Ilford, in east London, on Monday evening.

She then left the hospital and walked to Barley Lane in the direction of the A12.

Detectives believe while she was walking on the road someone may have approached her.

Her body was found the next day in Little Heath, Romford.

Detective Chief Inspector David Hillier, who is leading the investigation, said: "My team and I are working around the clock, following a number of enquiries in our work to establish what happened to Maria.

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“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.”

Her family is currently being supported by specialist officers.

DCI Hillier added: “I want to hear from anyone who knew Maria and knows about where she had been and who she had been associating with.

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“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.”

Chief Superintendent 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.”

No arrests have been made.

The Met Police said officers are continuing to comb the scene and will stay in the area over the coming days.

The force is urging anyone with information to come forward.

  • Crime
  • Police
  • London

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