Gambling tattoo identifies stab victim: Body of businessman linked to clubs and bars found on landfill site

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A MURDER victim whose decomposed body was found naked near a landfill site, was identified by a distinctive tattoo which suggested a strong interest in gambling, police said yesterday.

Detectives, who refused to comment on speculation that George Leitch, 37, had been the victim of a gangland killing, said they would be making inquiries into his business interests, including his links with south London clubs and wine bars.

His naked body was found on Friday by staff at a landfill site near Cormongers Lane, Redhill, Surrey. A post-mortem examination revealed he had been stabbed three times, once through the heart. Police believe he had been killed elsewhere and that his body had been hidden on waste ground near the tip some weeks ago.

Mr Leitch, of Gipsy Hill near Streatham, south London, was last seen by his family on 2 July wearing black shorts, a white shirt and gold jewellery, including a necklace, bracelet, ring and watch. He was reported missing four days later.

A distinctive tattoo at the top of Mr Leitch's right thigh depicting an ace of hearts, three sides of a dice and a glass of champagne, played a key part in helping police identify the body. Mr Leitch had served 18 months in jail after being convicted in 1987 for handling stolen property.

Det Chief Insp Brian Woodfield, leading the murder hunt, was yesterday liaising with Scotland Yard about Mr Leitch's murder. He said: 'He seems to have various business interests in licensed premises - clubs and wine bars - in the south London area. We are making inquiries into those and the tattoo may suggest he has been involved in gambling.'

Mr Leitch had a three-year-old son, Daniel, by his estranged wife Lorraine, who lives in Penge, south-east London. He had moved in with his mother, Angela, 55, and brother, Patrick, 25, after the marital split four months ago.

Detectives have set up an incident room at Reigate police station and are appealing for witnesses who can help them with the final movements of Mr Leitch, who was 5ft 8in tall, slim with brown hair.

Police yesterday tried to piece together the final days of Craig Swann, the student who was listed missing for almost a year until his body was found buried head-first in remote Scottish woodland.

The post-graduate student in languages at Southampton University, whose body was discovered by a family out gathering mushrooms near Loch Tummel, Tayside, on Thursday, disappeared after leaving his parents' home at Broxburn, West Lothian, on 10 August last year.

Later that day, the 30-year-old's car was seen being parked by a man and woman, in their thirties, in Ruchazie Road, Easterhouse, Glasgow.

Mr Swann had been due to fly to spend a year in South America teaching English. Police carried out an extensive inquiry in which they interviewed more than 1,000 people.