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Identifying women found fused together in freezer will take days: police

Detectives said the property in east London is linked to drugs and used by ‘transient members of the community’.

Police at a property on Vandome Close in east London where two women have been found dead (PA)
Police at a property on Vandome Close in east London where two women have been found dead (PA)

Detectives say it could take a week to identify the bodies of two women found fused together in a small chest freezer.

Officers made the grim discovery after they were called to a ground floor flat in Vandome Close, Canning Town, east London, on Friday amid concerns for the welfare of a “male occupant”.

Post-mortem examinations will begin on the pair on Friday, but Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding said identification could take days as the crime scene is “one of the most challenging and complex” he has seen in 28 years.

He told reporters: “It’s such an unusual scene. I haven’t really seen something like this where the nature of the two bodies being frozen as they are.

“They are clothed, which I can say, and that’s also causing a complexity to it as we wait to start a post-mortem.”

Mr Harding said there were no signs of any injuries on the women and he explained it was too complex to say whether they were “whole”.

He added: “They are in a chest freezer.

“One body on top of the other. Being in a chest freezer anyway has caused the bodies to fuse.”

He could not say whether the pair were adults and said DNA testing is under way as detectives work with the National Crime Agency and missing persons groups to find out who they are.

“We could be a week away from identifying them,” he said.

Police said the apartment had been used by “transient members of the community” and linked to drugs.

So far two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder – a 34-year-old who remains in custody and a 50-year-old who has been released under investigation.

Mr Harding appealed for anyone who has visited the flat in the past year, or knows anyone who has, to come forward.

He said: “I would appeal to anyone who has visited this address over the last year, or has information about people who frequented the property, to come forward and speak to my team.

The women were found in a flat in Vandome Close, east London (Tom Pilgrim/PA)

“I am aware that casts a wide net in terms of my appeal but we do need to build up an accurate picture of life at that flat and what occurred there.”

There are fears for mother Mary-Jane Mustafa, 37, who went missing last May. Her family were seen at the flat on Tuesday as they desperately waited for information.

Her cousin Ayse Hussein, 46, said: “If it is my cousin, it’s just going to be a waiting game. They just have to confirm it.

“How they have been found, they can’t just do it. It’s going to take days.”

The family said police are keeping them updated on developments but they still hope Ms Mustafa will be found alive.

Her older sister Mel Mustafa, 47, said: “She is the most kind-hearted person you could meet and I still don’t believe it’s her.”

She added: “I wish the police would have listened to us earlier. They failed and I’m not scared to admit it anymore.”



From Belfast Telegraph