Couple questioned over murdered girl

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The Independent Online

Rochelle Holness, 15, was abducted after leaving her home in Lewisham to phone her boyfriend from a public telephone.

She was discovered three days later on Wednesday at Milford Towers in Catford, south London, where her body parts were found in bin liners. Investigators have not yet established if she was sexually assaulted.

Detectives were continuing to question a 47-year-old man and his 47-year-old Portuguese girlfriend, who were arrested in connection with the murder. Police believe the couple were not known to the teenager.

A source said Rochelle's mother, who last saw her at 7pm on Sunday, was not initially perturbed by Rochelle's disappearance. The source said: "Rochelle often went to stay with friends. But her mother had a call on Monday which alerted her to the fact that her friends could not make contact with Rochelle."

Police believe Rochelle was kidnapped but a post mortem has not been able to establish the exact cause of death or when she died. The post mortem showed signs that suggest she may have been strangled.

Detectives dismissed any link to other cases of missing children in London, and did not believe the murder was connected to an abduction ring.

Rochelle's remains were found after an ambulance was called to treat an injured man at the top floor flat on the estate at Mitford Towers on Wednesday morning. The man had tried to slash his wrists. Ambulance staff became suspicious and called the police, who arrested the couple at the flat. The man was initially taken to hospital for treatment before being arrested.

Family members and friends took flowers to the scene where Rochelle's body was found yesterday. Rochelle's father wrote a farewell note which read: "As my only daughter you were very special to me. Despite our ups and downs, I never stopped loving you. You will always be in my heart til we meet again in heaven. Love you always, Dad."

Milford Towers has been troubled by drug dealing and mugging in the past. Residents said the estate was also plagued by violence and anti-social behaviour. Nurcan Karamoglu, 37, who has lived in the area for 15 years, said: "This place ... there is always a problem, there is always trouble on the estate."

Christine Stewart, 40, said: "It is not a nice area. Earlier in the year there was some kind of raid and there were police in bullet proof vests and helmets in the middle of the day and it just seemed normal to most people. There is lots of petty theft and my neighbour was burgled. You just lock your doors and windows and hope no one bothers you."

Another resident said: "It's terrifying to have something like this on your own doorstep."

But Huw Williams, the chairman of the Residents and Tenants Association, said the tower block had recently improved. He said he had spoken to the man who lived in the top floor flat, who seemed like "pleasant".

Det Supt Paul McAleenan has appealed for witnesses to speak to police. "I want to hear from anyone who was in the area at any time from Sunday evening to the early hours of Wednesday," he said.