Romford: Murder investigation after woman’s body found in shrubbery

A woman whose body was found in shrubbery by a dog walker is believed to have been murdered, police have said.

Maria Rawlings, 45, from Chelmsford, attended King George Hospital in Ilford, east London, on Monday evening, Scotland Yard said.

It is believed someone may have approached the mother of two daughters as she walked along Barley Lane in the direction of the A12 afterwards.

Her body was found the next day at 2pm in Little Heath, Romford. Officers were called along with the London Ambulance Service.

Homicide detectives are now investigating.

Neck compression and possible blunt force head trauma were given as preliminary causes of death following a post-mortem at Walthamstow Mortuary on Wednesday, the Met said.

"Officers are continuing to examine the crime scene and will remain in the area in the coming days," the force added.

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

He added: "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."

Mr Hillier continued: "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."

Those who may be able to assist should call the incident room on 020 8345 3865, ring 101, or tweet @MetCC and quote CAD3551/4May.

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