London: A 30-year-old Indian-origin woman, who had been missing for nearly a fortnight, was found murdered on wasteland near London's Heathrow airport, with Scotland Yard on Wednesday appealing the public for information about the incident.
Pardeep Kaur was reported missing by a relative last month, after she failed to turn up for work. Metropolitan Police murder detectives took over the investigation and formally identified the body last week.
Kaur, who was married and worked as a hotel housekeeper, was last seen alive on October 16. Her body was found by police nearly a week after, during their search and it is believed she was strangled by a stranger on her way back home from work in south-west London.
"We have carried out extensive CCTV and house-to-house enquiries piecing together information about Pardeep's last known movements. A key line of enquiry for this investigation continues to be that Pardeep was attacked by a stranger on her walk to work that morning, and sadly, was most likely murdered before she was reported missing," said Metropolitan Police detective inspector Jamie Stevenson, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command.
He added: "We are releasing a CCTV still showing Pardeep on her way home from work on Sunday, 16 October - the day before she went missing. It shows her wearing the same clothing and carrying the same handbag that she had on the morning she went missing.
"We have yet to find Pardeep's handbag - it was a black shoulder bag - and I would like to hear from anyone who has found a discarded handbag matching that description abandoned in the street or in their garden. This continues to be a fast-moving investigation."
Two men in their 30s arrested over the disappearance of Kaur were released without charge last week before the body was discovered on waste ground underneath a flyover in Hayes, south-west London.
A post-mortem examination proved inconclusive in establishing the cause of death and the results of further tests are awaited.
Chief superintendent Colin Wingrove, in charge of policing the area, said: "My thoughts are with Pardeep's family and friends at this incredibly difficult time. Local officers are doing all they can to support the ongoing investigation into her murder, supporting colleagues from the Homicide and Major Crime Command.
"We have had extra officers patrolling around the Pinkwell and Harlington areas and those patrols will continue. I can understand why such an unusual crime may cause concern within our community. If you are worried, or have concerns, please talk to our officers when they are out and about."