Police to question beachgoers after deaths

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Police will question beachgoers in an effort to shed light on the deaths of a four-year-old girl and her mother.

The body of Keira Madden was found in a bedroom at around the same time her mother, Catherine Madden, 40, threw herself from a clifftop 50 miles away at the weekend.

Later police said a note apparently written by Mrs Madden, known as Cathy, was found next to Keira's body, claiming she had drowned after slipping in the sea the previous day.

A post-mortem examination on Keira's body has proved inconclusive and police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to establish the cause of her death.

Meanwhile, a post-mortem on Mrs Madden confirmed she died from multiple injuries consistent with a fall.

Tomorrow officers will visit four beaches at Felpham, Climping, Witterings and Pagham from 11am to 4pm asking people if they recognise the mother and daughter from the previous week.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Sloan, from Sussex Police's major crime branch, said: "It's important that we do everything we can to try and find members of the public who may have seen Cathy and Keira at the beach the day before they died.

"We're trying to build up a picture of what happened and need anyone who thinks they saw them to come forward and talk to us."

Police will also continue their appeal for information about Mrs Madden's car, a green Renault Megane, which she drove to Birling Gap, near Eastbourne, East Sussex, last Saturday afternoon.

Exactly a week on from the tragedy officers will visit the seaside spot where she left the car in a bid to trace anyone who may have seen her.

It was at Birling Gap that chaplains had tried to coax Mrs Madden away from the cliff-top but she fell to her death.

At about the same time police linked her car, which had been abandoned nearby, to her home in Roundle Avenue, Felpham, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, where they found Keira's body.

Keira's maternal grandparents, Jo and Peter Oates, said the pair adored each other and "nothing came between that love".

In a statement yesterday they added: "Cathy and Keira are now together for all time and nothing can separate them."

Mrs Madden had been going through a divorce from the child's father, Steve Madden, a self-employed computer expert who lives and works in Germany.

He would come back to the UK every three weeks for access visits to see Keira.

In a statement released through police earlier this week, he paid tribute to his daughter, describing her as his "princess".

Neighbour, Steve Hill, said the couple had been involved in a domestic argument at the house about two months ago, with clothes thrown on to the street.

Police said only the mother and daughter lived at the house and no-one else was being sought in connection with the deaths.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 0845 6070 999, quoting Operation Launton, or email the inquiry team on mcb.intelligencesussex.pnn.police.uk