Jigsaw murder: Two held

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Two people appeared in court yesterday in connection with the so-called "jigsaw murder" as the Independent Police Complaints Commission launched an investigation into detectives' handing of the case.

Stephen Marshall, 37, of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, and Sarah Bush, 20, of Southgate, north London, appeared before magistrates in Stevenage accused of killing Jeffrey Howe, 49, a kitchen salesman whose body parts were found scattered across two counties.

The IPCC is looking into the handling of the case amid claims that Scotland Yard repeatedly ignored pleas from the family to investigate his disappearance before the first body part was found.

Scores of officers from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit and Leicestershire Police have been chasing leads since 22 March when Mr Howe's left leg was found in a lay-by on the A507 in Cottered, Hertfordshire. The victim, who was unmarried and had no children, was identified earlier this week by DNA tests on his remains.

Metropolitan Police chief Sir Paul Stephenson has ordered the Directorate of Professional Standards to investigate whether Mr Howe's disappearance was handled appropriately. Reports suggest that his family's concerns about his uncharacteristic disappearance were not taken seriously.

A force spokesman said: "Officers from the DPS have begun an investigation to establish whether the missing person inquiry was handled appropriately and the matter has also been voluntarily referred to the IPCC."

He could not comment on whether the move was prompted by complaints from the victim's family. Both defendants were remanded in custody.