Two held as victim in body parts case named

Police granted extra time to question man and woman on suspicion of murder
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The Independent Online

Police investigating the murder of a man whose dismembered body parts were found in five different locations have named the victim as Jeffrey Howe, 49, of north London.

Mr Howe, from Southgate, was a salesman for a kitchen firm. He had also worked in Italy as a cook, and supported Manchester United.

More than 100 officers have been working on the case since his left leg was found in a green holdall in a lay-by in a Hertfordshire village on 22 March.

The rest of his body, bar his hands, was found over the following three weeks, leading police on a macabre trail around rural Hertfordshire and Leicestershire.

Detectives found no match in the national DNA database and, without his hands, could not check his fingerprints. They had been trawling through lists of missing persons when the breakthrough came in the form of a call to their incident room reporting Mr Howe as missing.

Last night police issued a tribute from his brother, whom they did not name. "Jeffrey was an extremely caring son. He was a jovial, charming character who had a heart of gold and would get on with anyone. He could be a little selfish sometimes but did what he thought was best," his brother said.

"Although we didn't have a great deal of contact and we hadn't seen each other for a few months, as you can imagine our family has been left extremely traumatised by what has happened." Yesterday magistrates granted detectives extra time to continue questioning on suspicion of Mr Howe's murder a 37-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman who were arrested in Southgate on Tuesday, again after a call to the incident room.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Hanlon said: "Extensive work has been carried out in relation to this murder investigation and I can confirm that two people have been arrested on suspicion of murder."

Although whoever dumped the parts of Mr Howe's body had driven hundreds of miles to do so, they made little effort to conceal them. After his left leg and foot were found in Cottered, Hertfordshire, his arm, dismembered at the elbow and wrist, was discovered a week later on a grass verge in Wheathampstead, a 40-minute drive away.

A farmer found Mr Howe's head, missing two front teeth, on 1 April in a field in Asfordby, Leicestershire, 95 miles from Wheathampstead. A motorist found his right leg near the A10 Puckeridge bypass, in Hertfordshire, on 7 April.

The discovery of his torso, found four days later by a walker in Gore Lane, Standon, Hertfordshire, revealed that he had been fatally stabbed in the back.