Manhunt intensifies for east London serial rapist

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The Independent Online

Police have stepped up the search for a serial sex attacker who has raped three women and murdered one. The operation is rapidly becoming one of Britain's biggest manhunts.

With the man now linked to up to eight attacks in the east London area, extra detectives have been assigned to help with the investigation amid fears that the killer could strike again at any time.

A massive DNA sweep has been undertaken in recent weeks involving men living in 9,000 homes near the scene of the murder in Walthamstow, Waltham Forest. Those who match the suspect's description were asked to give samples. DNA swabs have been taken from 345 men in what is thought to be the biggest DNA sweep since the 2006 search for the killer of Sally Anne Bowman.

Michelle Samaraweera was raped and killed on 30 May. The 35-year-old was attacked after popping out to the supermarket late at night to buy milk.

Her partially-clothed body was discovered in a children's play area.

DNA evidence has already linked Ms Samaraweera's killer to two other rapes in the area, both of which took place less than a mile away from the scene of the murder.