Man held over torso dumped in canal

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The Independent Online

A man aged 53 was arrested yesterday in connection with the discovery of a female torso in a suitcase dumped in a London canal. The man was held in the West Country and taken to London for questioning, a spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said.

A man aged 53 was arrested yesterday in connection with the discovery of a female torso in a suitcase dumped in a London canal. The man was held in the West Country and taken to London for questioning, a spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said.

Police announced later that divers had recovered the victim's missing body parts, including her severed head, from the Regent's Canal. They were in one bundle.

A forensic science team continued searching a one-bedroom flat in Highbury, north London, where the victim is thought to have been dismembered. Neighbours said that a few weeks ago a distressed woman was seen running from the flat. Forensic examinations at two other properties in north London have been called off.

A group of boys aged 13 to 18 spotted the suitcase part-submerged in the canal in north London on Saturday afternoon. The murder investigation was launched after the woman's body was discovered inside.

It is thought the victim was an Afro-Caribbean woman around 5ft 3in, of slim build and aged between 18 and 30. "We still need to identify the victim," the spokeswoman said. The man had been arrested in Dorset, she added.

Post-mortem examination tests failed to establish the cause of death. It was thought the woman had been dead for about two days.

Detectives are appealing to anyone who may know the victim's identity or who saw the suitcase being thrown into the canal to come forward. They have not ruled out a link to the ritual killing of an African boy whose torso was found in the Thames in 2001 or the murder of a prostitute whose dismembered body was discovered at the same canal four years ago.