Mystery surrounds female corpse found in suitcase in Hendon, north London

Body found in a wooded area in north west London near a primary school

Mystery surrounds the death of a woman whose body was discovered by police inside a suitcase dumped in a wood in north London.

A murder inquiry has been launched and police were at the scene searching for clues today, following the gruesome discovery in a quiet, suburban area.

Officers were called early on Sunday evening and residents said forensic teams combed the area until the early hours.  But police said they had found out little else about the woman. Officers confirmed the identity of the person who called in the report was one line of enquiry they were following but refused to release any further details last night.

“We have a body in a suitcase, we have moved it and we have not got the body out,” DCI Nicola Wall of the Murder Squad told reporters today. She added: “We are working as hard as we can to find out who's in that suitcase and how they came to be in there. There is a family out there and we don't want to unnecessarily worry people. We are doing our best to find out lines of evidence there are at this time.”

And she said that her team was yet to examine the body or the suitcase in detail in order to “preserve forensic opportunities”. A statement released by the Metropolitan Police Service today said the woman was white and an adult but gave no further details as to her identity.

The body was found in a wooded area in Hendon, north west London. The scene is near some playing fields and a primary school, which was open today, and a brook runs through the trees. The area was cordoned off as officers in protective boiler suits investigated.

One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “We heard it was a woman in a suitcase. The police…had sniffer dogs, which were going mental at one point. I thought that meant they must have found a body.

“It is a bit sick. We didn't know anything until the police turned up. My husband went to find out what was going on, they said they had found something sinister. It is a family area, it is a quiet street. Maybe the person who did it thought it would be an ideal place.

Maggie Wilmott, 48, who works for Public Health England, said: “We were up all night, the forensics team were around checking. It is a public access round there, it is lit up but I wouldn't walk down there at night. It has caused problems with all the parents because the school is still open.”

Police said work to find about more about the woman would resume at the site tomorrow morning.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn