Police search paedophile's garden for human remains

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Neighbours of a jailed paedophile today spoke of their shock at the news police are hunting for the remains of two youngsters at his former home.

Officers were called in to examine the grounds of the house in Croydon, south London, after an anonymous tip-off in a letter, a police spokesman said.

Pensioner Leslie Ford-Thrussell lived at the house before he was jailed for 12 years for assaulting children aged 13 and under.

He admitted taking and making obscene images and was convicted of 37 crimes, including rape and indecent assault, between 1986 and 2003.

The letter alleged Ford-Thrussell had murdered two children and buried their bodies in the back garden of the semi-detached home, according to The Sun newspaper.

This morning, Nicola Nunn, who lives next door to the Walton Green property in New Addington and knew Ford-Thrussell before he was sent to prison, spoke of her shock at the police search.

She said she and her partner and two children, now aged four years and eight months, became friendly with Ford-Thrussell in the year between them moving in and his imprisonment.

She said: "We actually thought he was a very friendly, nice old man. He helped us with our garden. He was becoming really friendly.

"He spent a lot of time outside. He absolutely loved his garden and was always asking us over to have a look at it."

She was "just stunned" on hearing that police were to search the property for the remains of two children.

"We obviously knew about his conviction but this is something else altogether. I think about my two babies and it just scares me."

Two police cars were parked outside the property today and a number of police officers stood outside, though it appeared the police search had not begun.

Ms Nunn said a family who had previously lived in the house moved to another address nearby about three months ago.

The tidy walled garden, which is visible from Ms Nunn's house, is partly paved with the rest covered in lawn. A small planted garden runs along one edge and the back wall is partly covered with bushes and vines.

Earlier a Scotland Yard spokesman said: "I can confirm that police are conducting a search at the premises in Walton Green in New Addington as part of an investigation which follows an allegation made anonymously to police that there were human remains buried on the site."

He added that the alleged murders were said to have happened more than 30 years ago. No-one was currently living at the property, and inquiries were continuing, he added.