A father found strangled in his flat alongside his daughter was a convicted sex offender who had served a jail sentence for a sexual assault, it was revealed today.
Police discovered the bodies of Marie Brown, 41, and her father, Noel, 69, at his home in Deptford in the early hours on Monday.
Detectives believe one possibility is that Mr Brown was targeted by the killers and his daughter was also murdered when she disturbed them as they tried to dismember his body.
Mr Brown and his only daughter were found strangled at his flat in New Butt Lane at about 2.45am on Monday after police responded to a welfare concern.
Today police said they were keeping an open mind about the motive for the murders after dismissing reports that Mr Brown, a keen gambler, had been killed for his betting shop winnings.
Detective Superintendent Paul Monk said Mr Brown’s conviction in 1999 for a sex offence, for which he served four years in prison, was one line of inquiry but added that it was not “screaming out” as a motive.
He said “nothing” had happened in Mr Brown’s life in the 18 years since the conviction to suggest that was the reason for the murder.
Mr Monk said: “The offence was a sex offence, he was convicted and served time and was released in 2004.”
One report claimed Mr Brown was convicted for an assault on two young girls but the detective refused to confirm details of the offence.
Detectives said Mr Brown was last seen at 8pm last Thursday and his daughter called at her father’s home in New Butt Lane at midday on Saturday after becoming increasingly worried about him.
Police are appealing for any information about two men seen visiting Mr Brown’s flat in the days before the murders.
Detective Superintendent Paul Monk, who is overseeing the inquiry, said: “Our investigation is fast moving and making progress every day.
"I want to reassure people that we are doing all we can to find those responsible for the murders of Noel and Marie.
“At this early stage we are keeping an open mind regarding the motive, however it was clear to the responding officers that there were no signs of forced entry to the property.
"One of our key lines of enquiry is to establish if the suspects or suspects were known to Noel and if Marie disturbed them.”
He said both died as a result of being strangled and had not suffered any other apparent injuries.
Mr Monk said Mr Brown, a regular gambler who placed “very small bets” every day at the Paddy Power shop in Deptford High Street, did not visit the bookmakers on Friday and it is possible he was killed before his daughter arrived.
He said: “I don’t know whether he was dismembered at that point or whether he was dismembered after Marie was killed.
“There’s some attempt to cover up the crime, it’s a strong possibility that Marie had disturbed them. “
He said there was no attempt to dismember Ms Brown, a single mum, with daughters aged nine and 18.
Det Supt Monk added: “We are keen to understand exactly what happened.
"We know two men visited that flat in the day’s before Noel’s death. If that was you, or you know who it was, please get in contact with us.
“One of the key strands of our investigation is understanding all we can about Noel’s life. He was well known and liked locally.
“There has been speculation that his murder was as a result of a large gambling win, however at this time there is no evidence to suggest this was the case.
“I am keen to hear from anyone who saw Noel in the days leading up to his death or saw anyone or anything unusual in or around New Butt Lane during that time.”
He added: “This is a deeply distressing time for Noel and Marie’s family as they come to terms with their loss.”
A close family friend paid tribute to the couple earlier this week saying they were “a lovely, caring family.”
The friend, who had known Mr Brown for nine years said he loved Jamaican reggae and wrote poetry. She said: “He was a lovely, humble, wise man. He loved music and poetry. He loved football and supported Tottenham.“