Two held over murder of jogger in Hackney

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The Independent Online

A man aged 24 and a 15-year-old boy were arrested yesterday in connection with the murder of an American jogger in a London park in February and an attack on a woman runner in a park near by this month, Scotland Yard said.

Margaret Muller, a 27-year-old art student from Virginia, was killed in a "frenzied" attack in Victoria Park, Hackney, east London on 3 February. The other woman, 39, was the victim of a similar attack in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington on 5 December. She survived.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Officers arrested a 24-year-old man at his home in Stoke Newington in connection with the attempted murder of a 39-year-old woman in Clissold Park and the murder of Margaret Muller in Victoria Park. A 15-year-old male was arrested at his home in Stoke Newington in connection with the two incidents."

The spokesman said the suspects were not linked and said that they were questioned at separate police stations in north London. They were released on bail to return on 12 January.

More than 100 officers and 70 detectives have been drafted in to the two investigations led by Detective Chief Superintendent Jon Shatford. In February, Ms Muller, who was in Britain studying at the Slade School of Fine Art, was stabbed more than 40 times in the back and neck while out jogging alone. Passers by heard her screams and found Ms Muller, who had lived in the Hackney area for three years, but they could do nothing to save her.

In March, officers staged the Metropolitan Police's largest reconstruction, asking more than 100 witnesses to retrace their movements in the park. Five months later, police offered a £ 15,000 reward for help in catching the attacker. Before yesterday, three people had been arrested in connection with Ms Muller's murder but no one had been charged.

The latest victim, a 39-year-old runner who has not been named, was stabbed in Clissold Park in north London - a 10-minute drive from the park where Ms Muller was murdered - on 5 December.

Det Ch Supt Shatford said the victim "fought like hell" and "ran with all her might" to escape her attacker while he kicked and chased her through the park, swearing and verbally abusing her.

The victim ran about 100m before collapsing and it is believed she would probably have died if a doctor walking in the park with her two young children had not found her.

The jogger collapsed in front of the doctor, who stemmed the bleeding with a muslin blanket belonging to one of her children. The woman later underwent surgery and is still in hospital where her condition is described as "stable".

Det Ch Supt Shatford, who described the two attacks as "strikingly similar", said the victim of the Clissold Park attack was still recovering.

He said: "We do expect her to make a full recovery."