Romford murder: Mother-of-two, 45, found dead in bushes by dog walker

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Romford murder: Mother-of-two Maria Jane Rawlings, 45, found dead in bushes by dog walker - Met Police
Romford murder: Mother-of-two Maria Jane Rawlings, 45, found dead in bushes by dog walker - Met Police

A woman whose body was found in shrubbery is believed to have been murdered.

Maria Jane Rawlings, 45, who lived in the Chelmsford area of Essex, was found dead in Little Heath, Romford, east London, by a man walking his dog at around 2pm on Tuesday.

The Metropolitan Police said a post-mortem examination gave the mother-of-two's preliminary cause of death as neck compression and possible blunt force head trauma.

Officers are still examining the scene and are expected to remain in the area in the coming days.

On Monday evening, Ms Rawlings attended the King George Hospital in Goodmayes, Ilford, before leaving on foot to Barley Lane in the direction of the A12.

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

There have been no arrests, the Met said as the force appealed for information.

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

"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. 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 dashcam or doorbell footage that could have captured her - please think carefully and if you can help, contact police."

Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman, head of the borough command unit 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."

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