Police investigate delay in finding presenter's body
Tuesday 15 April 2008
Police have launched an investigation into how the body of the children's TV presenter Mark Speight went undiscovered in a building next to London's Paddington station for six days.
Mr Speight, 42, was found hanging from a roof at 10am on Sunday, police confirmed yesterday, after his family formally identified his body.
Fears for his mental health were raised when he was first reported missing last Monday, three months after the death of his fiancée Natasha Collins. Mr Speight woke on 3 January after a night of partying to find his long-term partner dead in the bath of the couple's north London home. She had burns covering 60 per cent of her body and had consumed a large quantity of alcohol, cocaine and sleeping pills.
Yesterday, British Transport Police said Network Rail staff had found the body of Mr Speight in a disused part of MacMillan House, a large building next to the main station concourse which contains offices that are either empty or being renovated. The police said they would be conducting a thorough investigation into why the body had been undiscovered for so long.
"We are carrying out a report which we will then pass to the coroner," a spokesperson said. Officers will examine how Mr Speight accessed the remote area, and will examine unconfirmed reports that he may have needed security codes to get to the area in which he was found.
A separate statement added: "The body was in a remote area out of public view." Police did not confirm or deny whether or not a suicide note had been found at the scene.
The results of a post-mortem examination will be released today and police are expected to conclude there were no suspicious circumstances.
Mr Speight was arrested immediately after the discovery of Ms Collins' body on suspicion of murder and supplying class-A drugs. The next day he was bailed and the BBC said it would no longer screen his children's TV programme SMart. Five days later, police said Mr Speight was no longer suspected of murder. He was eventually acquitted of all drug-related charges. An inquest into Ms Collins' death recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.
Mr Speight had been dropped off at Wood Green station, in north-east London, last Monday morning. He had been due to meet his fiancée's mother, Carmen Collins, later that day to revisit some of her daughter Natasha's favourite places in London. But he failed to turn up. Instead, he was seen at Queen's Park Tube station, four stops from Paddington, north-west London at 2.22pm, and then seen boarding a southbound Bakerloo line train.
Mr Speight had previously been seen in Kilburn, also in north-west London, by two police officers who said he appeared "distracted and deep in thought". They offered him medical assistance, but he declined.
Mr Speight, from Wolverhampton, met Natasha Collins in 1999, when they appeared together on the BBC show See It, Saw It. Two years later she was hit by a car and seriously injured, causing her TV work to dry up. Her mother Carmen, 57, spoke of the couple's prospective wedding plans. Mr Speight had been staying with her following Natasha's death, but would cry incessantly at night. "She was his soulmate and now life has died for him," she said last week.
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