Identity of dead boy still unknown

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The Independent Online

Detectives investigating the murder of a schoolboy who was battered to death and then set on fire were still unable to identify the victim last night.

Scotland Yard said yesterday that news coverage of the murder in a popular London park had generated 20 calls to a police incident room from members of the public.

But detectives have no firm leads on the name of the boy, who was so badly burnt that police were unable to determine his ethnicity.

A post-mortem examination later determined that he was Asian and probably aged between 12 and 14, although he may have been as old as 16.

The boy's body was found face down at the base of a tree in Roe Green Park, Kingsbury, north-west London, on Tuesday morning. He is believed to have been murdered at the same spot at some time during the hours of darkness the previous night.

No one fitting his description has been reported missing but detectives are still checking records. The lack of response from parents of the child prompted speculation yesterday that he might be from a family that feared investigation by immigration officials.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Because we don't know his identity we have had to keep an open mind, but we are considering that he is an illegal immigrant as a possibility.

"Until we know who he is we can't rule anything out. That is one of the many possibilities of who he is and what his background is."

Selva Selvarajah, a Conservative councillor for the London borough of Brent, said: "Even if he was an illegal immigrant a boy of 12 to 16 would not come here alone. He must have parents or someone who took care of him and I'm sure that they would not fear coming forward to identify the boy."