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Police seek to identify man in relation to mother-of-two’s death

·2-min read

Detectives investigating the murder of a woman whose body was found in shrubbery have released CCTV footage and images of a man they would like to identify.

Mother-of-two Maria Jane Rawlings, 45, who lived in the Chelmsford area of Essex, was found dead in Little Heath, Romford, east London, by a man walking his dog at around 2pm on Tuesday.

Detective Chief Inspector David Hillier, who is leading the murder investigation, is seeking help from the public to find a man shown on CCTV while travelling on a 364 bus towards Dagenham just after midnight on Wednesday.

Maria Jane Rawlings death
Maria Jane Rawlings (Met Poilce/PA)

He said: “I would urge anyone who recognises this man to contact police immediately.

“We are carrying out a fast-paced investigation and I believe this man may have significant information to help us with our enquiries.

“If anyone sees this man, I would ask them not to approach him but to call 999.”

He added: “My team and I are working around the clock, following a number of inquiries in our work to establish what happened to Maria.

“Her family are understandably distraught and we are doing all we can to help them as they begin to come to terms with their loss.”

Maria Jane Rawlings death
Handout CCTV still issued by Metropolitan Police of two views of a man travelling on a 364 bus towards Dagenham (Met Police)

The Metropolitan Police said a post-mortem examination gave Ms Rawlings’ preliminary cause of death as neck compression and possible blunt force head trauma.

On Monday evening, Ms Rawlings attended the King George Hospital in Goodmayes, Ilford, before leaving on foot to Barley Lane in the direction of the A12.

Detectives believe someone may have approached her while she was walking on that road.

Any members of the public who believe that they have any other information that could assist police are asked to call the incident room on 020 8345 3865.

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