Suspect wanted over murder of dismembered sex offender and daughter found dead in London

Noel Brown had been partially dismembered and detectives believe killer strangled his 41-year-old daughter Marie after being disturbed when she went to check on her father

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Friday 11 May 2018 14:38
The 69-year-old was founded dead with his daughter Marie
The 69-year-old was founded dead with his daughter Marie

A major suspect in the gory murder of a convicted sex offender and his daughter has been found dead in a block of flats.

Nathaniel Henry, 37, was reported missing by his family a week after the bodies of his two alleged victims were discovered in southeast London on 4 December.

Noel Brown, 69, had been partially dismembered and detectives believe the killer strangled his 41-year-old daughter Marie after being disturbed when she went to check on her father.

Police said Mr Henry was linked to the scene by forensic evidence and named as a “significant suspect”, but friends described the youth mentor as a “dedicated father-of-three” and pillar of the local community.

He was found dead inside a block of flats in Peckham Grove, southeast London, on New Year’s Eve in circumstances deemed “non-suspicious”.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said inquiries into the murder of Neil and Marie Brown continue and searches were carried out last week in homes across Southwark and Lewisham.

“Detectives are actively seeking to piece together the final movements of Nathaniel Henry,” he added.

Police do not appear to have immediately told relatives of his suspected involvement in the double murder, with a crowdfunding page set up in Mr Henry’s memory in January raising almost £1,500 for his funeral.

Met Police release CCTV of 'significant witness' following two deaths in Deptford, London

It said the “wonderful man” was last seen on 5 December – the day after the Browns’ bodies were discovered – at the Damilola Taylor Community Centre where he worked as a basketball coach and youth mentor.

“The police tried tracking his phone which hadn’t been used since the call he made on the 5th,” the page said.

“They also checked to see if he had used his card to make any transactions or to withdraw any money, which he hadn’t.

“They police visited the home where he lived by himself and checked locations he was known to frequent.”

Friends described Mr Henry as a “true pillar of the community who loved helping to make a difference” to local children.

“His passing has left a huge gaping hole in the community with many of the children he mentored struggling to deal with the news,” said the page, which was written before police named Mr Henry as a suspect.

“Nathaniel was an all-round good guy who didn’t have a bad word to say about anyone. He was very loved and will be greatly missed.”

He had two sons, including one at university in America, and a daughter who paid tribute on the GoFundMe page.

She said the funds would be used to pay for Mr Henry’s son to return to the UK for his funeral, which took place on 5 February in Camberwell.

Noel Brown, 69, was found murdered and partially dismembered at his home in Deptford on 4 December

Well-wishers writing on the page described Mr Henry as a “lovely person” and “gentle giant”.

The door to Mr Henry’s flat appears to have been smashed down by investigators and neighbours expressed shock.

A woman living in a nearby home, who did not wish to be named, said she would be “surprised if he could have hurt someone”.

"He was a perfect neighbour, he was always nice to my family,” she added. “Just a lovely guy who kept himself to himself.

"He had a bike and was very active, very healthy. He didn't have any visitors really but his kids came on and off."

Barrie Hargrove, the cabinet member for communities, leisure and safety at Southwark Council, said: “We are aware that a former volunteer has been linked to a police investigation and will support them with any inquiries.”

Police have not confirmed a potential motive for the murder of Mr Brown and played down the potential role of a gambling win or his conviction in 1999 for a sex offence, for which he served four years in prison.

He had not committed any other recorded offences after leaving prison, and police contact had been limited to convictions linked to the sex offenders’ register.

Officers found no signs of a break-in, indications of a struggle or evidence that “well-liked” Mr Brown and Ms Brown had been restrained.

A neighbour saw the father alive and well at his home in Deptford at around 8pm on 30 November, and his daughter visited the flat to check up on Mr Brown at around midday two days later.

She did not return home in Southwark and a relative contacted police shortly after midnight on 4 December, with officers forcing their way into Mr Brown’s flat at 2.45am and finding their bodies.

Post-mortem examinations confirmed that both victims died as a result of strangulation, while parts of Mr Brown’s arms and legs had been cut off and removed from the flat.

Police had urged two men seen on CCTV visiting the property in the days before he was found dead to come forward.

Footage was later released showing a male suspect carrying a distinctive large backpack, who was thought to have visited the flat at least four times as he dismembered Mr Brown’s body.

“We believe that at least one person, and maybe two, were going back and forth to the location over the course of the three days from the Thursday to Sunday evening, and that they were possibly even present just hours before police arrived in the early hours of the Monday morning,” Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding said at the time.

Ms Brown’s family said they were still in “shock and disbelief” over the death of the mother-of-two, who worked in a creche.

“Marie was the peacemaker and we cannot understand why this would happen to her,” they said in a statement.

“Marie was everything and we miss her so much.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police via the dedicated incident room on 0208 721 4205, call 101 or contact the Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Additional reporting by PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in