BREAKING BRENT LONDON

Met Police launch double murder investigation in Barnet and Elstree

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Police are investigating a double murder after the discovery of a body found in Hertfordshire was linked to the murder of a man in Barnet.

A fast-moving operation is underway, led by officers from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, with two crime scenes in Barnet and one in Elstree having been examined.

Officers were initially called to Courtland Avenue, Barnet NW7, at 8.10pm on Thursday, 19 December, following a report of a fight in progress. Officers attended but there was no trace of any victim or suspects.

At 8.30pm, police were called by the London Ambulance Service to Barnet Bypass, near Scratchwood Park, to reports of a man with stab injuries.

The 31-year-old man was treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to hospital.

After a search of a car found at the scene, a 30-year-old man was found inside the boot of the vehicle with stab wounds.

Despite the efforts of emergency services, he was declared dead a short time later.

Efforts are ongoing to trace his next of kin. Formal identification awaits.

The 31-year-old man found at the scene was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder and has been taken into custody upon discharge from hospital. He currently remains in police custody.

At 3.30pm on Friday, 20 December, officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary were called to Hogg Lane in Elstree, Hertfordshire, after the body of a 35-year-old man was found in undergrowth.

He had suffered multiple stab injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have informed his next of kin.

The discovery in Elstree has been linked to the murder in Barnet. No further specific details are being provided at this time.

Officers are working to establish how long the body had been there, and whether the incident took place before or after the discovery in Barnet.

Post-mortems for both victims are in the process of being scheduled and will take place in due course. Their families are being supported by specialist officers.

Officers are working to establish a timeline of events in what is a complex investigation, led by the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Stancombe said:“Our investigation is in its very early stages and at this time we are pursuing a number of leads to try to establish exactly what chain of events has led to two men losing their lives.

“Forensics examination continues and we are being closely supported by our colleagues at Hertfordshire Constabulary to understand the chronology of events.

“At these very early stages, we believe both the deceased men are Eastern European males. While we retain an open mind as to a motive, we cannot rule out whether there might be a potential organised criminal element. We also believe that the two victims might have been known to each other.

“I am asking those residents who live in the vicinity of the crime scenes in Barnet and Elstree to think very carefully about anything suspicious you may have seen over the last few days, and to make contact with us immediately. I would also like to reassure them that events of this nature are very rare, however if they have any concerns to contact their local neighbourhood officers.”

Police are keen to hear from anyone who may have information around suspicious vehicles being driven erratically in the Barnet/ Elstree areas, or any suspicious activities they may have noticed.

DCI Stancombe said: “The scenes at Scratchwood Park and Hogg Lane are around five miles apart, so only a relatively short distance. It could be that you may have caught something via dashcam footage that could prove massively important.

“The slightest fragment of information could prove crucial, so even if it may seem insignificant, please call the incident room or make use of anonymous methods such as the independent charity Crimestoppers.

“What matters most is that you make the call.”

Anyone who has information, images or video that could assist police are asked to call the incident room on 020 8358 0200, or 101, quoting 7486/19 Dec. Alternatively, tweet @MetCC.