A murder enquiry has been launched today

following the discovery of a woman's body on the bank of the Thames in Barnes


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Police were called at 17:06 on 16/2/04 to the riverside at
Barnes SW13, at Lonsdale Road at the junction with Nassau
Road. A local man, who had been out for a walk, became
concerned about a suitcase on the shore at the location.

The suitcase, a black case, 3'x2'x1', was split along a seam and contained what appeared to be human remains.Police have recovered the suitcase and can confirm it contained a human body.

The body was removed from the scene late on Monday.A post mortem at Kingston Coroners Court gave cause of death as manual strangulation.

The body is that of a female, believed to be between 25 and 35 years of age. She is of hispanic or latin appearance, 5'5" tall, brown eyes, long brown hair, 8.5 stone in weight, with her ears pierced in two places top and bottom. No jewellery or other property, apart from the clothes she had on, were recovered. She was fully clothed, wearing a size 8 V-Neck, black jumper with the label New Look. It had a ribbed collar around the V neck. She was also wearing black 'Zara Basic' trousers, european size 36, or size 8 UK, with a 26 inch waist. Her undergarments comprised a lilac Panache bra, and lilac Sloggi knickers.

The victim was barefoot. No shoes have been recovered.

The body had not been in the water for long, as there is no chronic decomposition. There is no estimate on how long at this stage. Forensic examination continues at the scene.

DCI Guy Ashley, of the Met's Serious Crime Directorate said:

"We are conducting a range of enquiries to establish the identity of this woman. We would appeal to anyone who is missing a friend, colleague or relative fitting the description of the woman found to contact police. We would also appeal to anyone who saw someone carrying the suitcase described above in the vicinity of the river Thames in South West London to call police."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Incident room at Belgravia on 020 7321 9251, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

17th Janaury 2004