Scotland Yard has released new images in a bid to trace the killer of a convicted sex offender, whose limbs were removed from his Lewisham flat after he was strangled and dismembered
Noel Brown’s body was found next to his daughter, Marie Brown, 41, at his home in New Butt Lane, Deptford, south-east London, at about 2.30am on Monday December 4.
Marie Brown is believed to have been strangled to death after disturbing the killer when she went to check on her father, 69, on Saturday December 2.
Detectives are keeping an open mind over the motive, but are investigating whether Mr Brown’s murder was linked to his 1999 conviction for a child sex offence.
Officers are trawling through 1,000 hours of CCTV footage and have released footage and images to trace the suspect, who appears to deliberately avoid passers-by before moving back towards the block of flats at about 5am on Saturday December 2.
The suspect is believed to have visited the flat at least four times between killing Mr Brown and the bodies being found, in what the detective described as a big risk and highly unusual.
Wearing dark clothes, he is said to have a slightly odd walk and is carrying a distinctive, large rucksack, featuring fluorescent bands.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding said the suspect was thought to have visited the flat at least four times as he dismembered Mr Brown’s body.
“Parts of both his arms and a part of one of his legs have been removed from the scene and those have not been recovered,” he said. In my 27 years of policing, I have not seen anything quite like this.”
Harding said there was no trace of the missing body parts after police divers searched nearby Deptford Creek, while specialist dogs scoured the estate.
He said: “One of our key lines of inquiry is working to establish if the person or people involved were known to Noel, and if Marie somehow disturbed them.
“We believe that at least one person, and maybe two, were going back and forth to the location over the course of the three days from the Thursday to Sunday evening, and that they were possibly even present just hours before police arrived in the early hours of the Monday morning.”
Harding played down earlier speculation that Brown may have been murdered over a big win at a bookies, saying he had made a “matter of pennies” when he was pictured leaving a betting shop on November 30. Police have also released an image of Brown in the betting shop.
He was last seen by a neighbour at around 8pm and police believe he was killed later that night or early the following morning.
The victim was convicted of a sex offence and jailed in 1999, but has been described as “well-liked and well-respected” in the area, having been released in 2004.
Harding said the victim’s criminal past was being treated as a significant line of inquiry, but added: “It could be a stranger or a failed robbery or burglary.”
Harding said: “It is extremely important that we find out who this man with the rucksack is as he is now of very significant interest to our investigation.
“I hope that by putting these images out into the public domain someone will be able to lead us to his identity.
“We know from this footage and other information we have obtained that this individual can be placed at key locations for us, at key points during the time-frames we are looking at.
“We also deem that his behaviour raises questions and it is for all of these reasons I believe him to be a suspect for the murders.”
Officers are also trying to trace a woman wearing a light-coloured coat, who may have seen the man’s face as he passed, as well as the occupants of a van seen driving along Reginald Road.