A nursery worker found murdered alongside her father may have disturbed the killers as they tried to dismember his body to conceal the death, police revealed today.
Officers discovered the bodies of Marie Brown, 41, and her father, Noel, 69, at his home in Deptford at 2.45am on Monday.
Scotland Yard said today that the couple had been strangled and one possibility was that she was killed when she called at the flat to check on his welfare.
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.
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.
Detectives appealed for 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 confirmed that officers were investigating Mr Brown’s background, including a historical conviction which resulted in his name being placed on the Sex Offences Register.
Det Supt Monk said both died as a result of being strangled and had not suffered any other apparent injuries.
However, he added that the killers had tried to conceal Mr Brown’s death and there had been an “attempt to dismember his body” after his death.
One possibility was that Ms Brown, a mother with daughters aged nine and 18, had disturbed the killers when she arrived to check on her father.
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.”
He said Mr Brown was a regular visitor to go to his local betting shop, Paddy Power, in Deptford High Street and had been there during the day he was last seen alive on 30 November. .
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.“