Police arrest 11-year-old Rebecca Thompson's father over her murder in Hertfordhire

52-year-old is currently in hospital after car crash hours before the girl's body was found

The father of an 11-year-old girl found dead over the weekend is under arrest in hospital under suspicion of her murder.

Rebecca Thompson's mother found her dead at the family home in Bushey, two miles east of Watford, around midday on Saturday.

Detectives are currently examining the house for evidence, and a post-mortem examination will take place on Tuesday.

Earlier that day, her father Simon crashed his Volkswagen Golf into a roundabout at high speed in what is believed to have been a suicide attempt. He was alone in the car.

A Hertfordshire Police spokeswoman told the Evening Standard the 52-year-old was expected to be in hospital for some time and would be interviewed once deemed fit by medical staff.

One neighbour told the newspaper: “Simon doted on his daughter.

“He worked from home and spent a lot of time just sitting in his car in the driveway.

“They were a very private family. While most of the children in the street played with each other. Rebecca was not one of them. I don't think she ever had any friends round. They did not have any other children.”

Detective Inspector John Arthur, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: “The death of a child is always tragic and understandably many people will be devastated and concerned by what has happened. Our thoughts are with Rebecca's family and friends at this terrible time.

“I have two key appeals to make from the public - did you see the VW Golf which would have been driven at high speed just prior to the crash at the Elstree Hill roundabout in the early hours of Saturday morning? This is a very important element to this investigation.

“I am also very keen to hear from anyone who saw, or knows where Rebecca had been during Friday 21 June. Who was she with? Where was she and at what time?

“This tragedy comes in the wake of two deaths of local teenagers in a short time and we have in place additional patrols and resources in the area to support the community and these will remain in place for as long as necessary.”

Rita Cooper, headteacher at Sacred Heart Primary School in Bushey, which Rebecca attended, said: “It is with great sadness that we heard of the death of Rebecca who was in year six at Sacred Heart.

“Rebecca was a lovely girl who was hard working and did well in her learning. She was looking forward to secondary school.

“The whole school is very distressed by this tragedy and our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine