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Church News

Murder probe after woman found dead in church grounds

by Press Association

A murder investigation has been launched after a woman's body was discovered in the grounds of a Baptist church.

The victim, who was in her early 40s, was found with multiple injuries and declared dead at the scene in Plaistow, east London.

Metropolitan Police North East Borough Commander Richard Tucker described it as a "shocking incident".

Officers were called to the Memorial Community Church in Barking Road at around 3.10pm on Thursday.

The woman is believed to have been killed early that morning.

Detective Inspector Darren Jones said: "We are working hard to establish the circumstances of what happened to the victim and at this stage we are keeping an open mind regarding a motive.

"There is a dedicated team who are exploring every single avenue to track down the person/s responsible.

"Our thoughts are with the victim and her family."

A crime scene remains in place as officers search the surrounding area, but no arrests have been made.

The Met said the force is trying to trace the victim's family.

Mr Tucker said: "This is a shocking incident but I want residents to know that a team of specialist officers are working tirelessly to identify and apprehend whoever is responsible.

"I am grateful for our local community's support and assistance during this time."

A spokeswoman for the church said: "We are very sad about everything that's happened, but we are not in a position to comment. The police are still investigating."

A large cordon was in place in Barking Road on Friday afternoon, blocking off several businesses closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Officers wearing blue forensic suits could be seen going into the church grounds, and several uniformed officers were on the scene, close to Plaistow police station.

A woman, who lives close to the church, said: "We're just really shocked. I've never seen any trouble and I've lived here a long time.

"Normally, I'm walking up and down there all the time for work and obviously with everything else that's going on I haven't been.

"I'm shocked and saddened, it sounds like someone was very vulnerable anyway."

The resident, who asked not to be named, added: "It's a community church, you certainly see a group of homeless people outside at weekends that congregate drinking tea, I think it might be a shelter.

"A couple of years ago you would have people sleeping there and then that stopped when they put the big planters there, but I've noticed the last couple of weeks that somebody had been sleeping on top of the steps.

"So whether that was the victim or not I don't know."

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police on 101 quoting CAD 3805/25Mar or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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