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Divers search Hampstead Heath pond for body of missing man

Relatives of Robert Duff raised the alarm on January 12 2013 when he failed to attend his daughter’s birthday celebration.

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Robert Duff with his two daughters (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Robert Duff with his two daughters (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Robert Duff with his two daughters (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Police divers are to search a pond on Hampstead Heath for the body of a man who went missing more than seven years ago.

Relatives of Robert Duff, who would now be 45, raised the alarm on January 12 2013 when he failed to attend his daughter’s 18th birthday celebration.

His disappearance was treated as a missing persons inquiry until 2018, when a television appeal on ITV London Tonight led a new witness to come forward.

The Metropolitan Police launched a murder investigation and began searching bodies of water near the area where he was last seen, including in Waterlow Park, Highgate, north London.

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Robert Duff (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Robert Duff (Metropolitan Police/PA)

PA

Robert Duff (Metropolitan Police/PA)

On Wednesday the force announced that specialist divers would search Highgate No 1 Pond on Hampstead Heath.

Detective Inspector Tom Williams said: “My team remains committed to finding Robert and providing the answers that his family are so desperately longing for.

“Following previous appeals, information was provided to my team that has led us to conduct a search of the No 1 Pond in Highgate. This work will continue over the coming weeks.

“Understandably, while this search is ongoing, this will be an incredibly distressing time for Robert’s family. I would ask anyone who has information about where Robert is, or what may have happened to him, to contact police.

“Not knowing what has happened to a loved one is a torment no family should endure. If you can help, please do the right thing and contact police and give Robert’s family the closure they deserve.”

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Highgate No 1 Pond on Hampstead Heath, London, which is being searched by police divers (Yui Mok/PA)

Highgate No 1 Pond on Hampstead Heath, London, which is being searched by police divers (Yui Mok/PA)

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Highgate No 1 Pond on Hampstead Heath, London, which is being searched by police divers (Yui Mok/PA)

Police believe Mr Duff was involved in a fight with two men on the day he disappeared, and was killed that night.

He had been to a flat in Bredgar Road, Archway, north London, on the night and several people were there.

On May 14 2018, two men aged 70 and 51 were arrested on suspicion of murder in Archway and questioned before being released under investigation.

Anyone with information can call police on 020 8358 0200 or on 101.

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