Detectives are ‘confident’ that two sisters who were stabbed to death in a London beauty spot last week were attacked by a stranger.
Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, were last seen on their way to celebrate Bibaa’s birthday at Fryent Country Park in Wembley last Friday.
Their lifeless bodies were found two days later, and were pronounced dead at the scene by police and the London Ambulance Service.
Officers investigating the case are trawling through ‘hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rubbish’ from a nearby refuse depot in search of ‘items of relevance’ accidentally cleared when mistaken for rubbish.
They believe that the attacker, who may have been ‘unknown to them’, was injured during the late-night incident and bled significantly.
It has also emerged that a Snapchat user warned about a man ‘killing people’ in the area and going around ‘scaring’ people a week before the two murders.
Nicole Smallman (left), 27, and Bibaa Henry (right), 46, were last seen on their way to celebrate Bibaa’s birthday at Fryent Country Park in north-west London last Friday
Police forensics at Fryent Country Park. The Met Police announced on Monday that they are treating the deaths as ‘suspicious’ and a murder investigation had been launched
The 15-year-old daughter of local resident Amanda Jacob Da Silva, 40, said her friend had posted about a man ‘going around north-west London’ on the app.
‘She said for people around Brent to beware, tell people where you are if you are going out and to call people if you are out by yourself,’ the girl said.
‘It said especially girls. It said there is a man going around killing people and the person on the Snapchat said tell people where you are.’
Police are in Fryent Country Park and the surrounding area today, handing out leaflets and engaging with members of the public in the hope of gathering information that could assist them with their investigation.
The bodies of Nicole and Bibaa were discovered at the park on Sunday. Two days earlier, the sisters had been at the location celebrating Bibaa’s 46th birthday.
Their mother Wilhelmina Smallman, known as Mina, was the first female BAME Archdeacon in the Anglican church.
Messages of support flooded in for the 63-year-old from former colleagues.
Forensic tents pictured at Fryent County Park in Wembley. Police were called to the scene after reports of the pair being found unresponsive shortly after 1pm on Sunday
Bibaa and Nicole were the daughters of Wilhelmina Smallman, pictured, the former archdeacon of Southend, in the diocese of Chelmsford
Police forensics at Fryent Country Park. Prior to the two women being discovered, their bodies are believed to have been spotted a day earlier by a woman who believed they were asleep
Acting bishop of Chelmsford Revd Peter Hill said: ‘We are devastated to hear of the tragic deaths of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry in north London at the weekend.
‘Nicole and Bibaa were the daughters of our former Archdeacon and good friend Mina Smallman. This is heartbreaking news and the thoughts and prayers of everyone at Chelmsford Diocese are with Mina and her family.’
Following a number of extensive enquiries, detectives are asking the public to help them with information about two key points.
DCI Simon Harding, Specialist Crime, said: ‘This is an unthinkably harrowing and tragic incident and my first thoughts remain with Nicole and Bibaa’s close family and friends who are going through the most unimaginable pain and suffering.
‘There have been a number of factors involved in both the incident and the aftermath which have required extra time and care in enabling us to create a clear picture of what has taken place. But what we can now say with some certainty is that Nicole and Bibaa were murdered by someone who was unknown to them.
‘Enquiries continue at pace, and an ongoing extensive search of what is a significant crime scene – including a pond – continues to yield evidence. My officers are also currently trawling through hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rubbish from a local refuse depot in search of items of relevance to the investigation, which we believe were accidentally cleared from the scene when mistaken for rubbish.
A police cordon at an entrance to Fryent Country Park. It has now emerged that sisters Bibaa and Nicole were the daughters of Wilhelmina Smallman, the former archdeacon of Southend
‘Whilst we tirelessly work to identify the individual responsible I am asking the public for their help with two points: We believe the suspect received injuries during the incident which have caused significant bleeding.
‘Do you know anyone who has been wounded in the last week who is unable to account for their injuries? Has someone returned home and perhaps acted suspiciously or tried to hide something from you?
‘We also believe the suspect left the park via the Valley Drive entrance. Did you see anyone acting suspiciously in that vicinity during the evening of Friday into early hours of Saturday? You may have noticed someone who was injured.
‘If you have information on either of these specific appeal points – no matter how insignificant it may seem – please contact us.
‘At this stage we don’t know why this awful attack took place and any information we can gather will help us further put the pieces of the jigsaw together.’
Ms Jacob Da Silva, a secretary, commented: ‘Whoever did this knew what they were doing. It is a secluded area where the two sisters were found and not many people pass by there. You have to go through the bushes.
A police officer at an entrance to Fryent Country Park in Wembley. A post-mortem yesterday gave the cause of death for both women as stab wounds. No arrests have yet been made
Flowers an an entrance to Freyent Country Park in a tribute to the two sisters. Residents living close to the area said a number of people had been staying there in tents during lockdown
‘I suspect they got drunk and somebody saw them leaving the party, tried to sexually abuse them and kill them. Why would somebody go and kill them for nothing?’
DCI Harding also appealed for anyone else in the area at the time to come forward. He said: ‘A number of people have come forward with information which has really assisted us with our enquiries, but I still need to hear from anyone who was in the park on the evening of Friday, 5 June, or early into Saturday, 6 June who has not yet spoken with police. The area the group were in is around a five minute walk from the Valley Drive entrance of the park, leading to a hill area.
‘This is a well-known spot to sit and look over London. If you were in that area of the park from the evening of 5 June through to Sunday lunchtime, noticed the group, or saw anything or anyone suspicious, please contact us immediately.
‘I also want to hear from people who regularly use the park, you may have seen a person acting suspiciously in the days leading up to the attack, you may not think your information is relevant, but it may be vital, so call and tell us what you know.
‘You may also have stumbled upon items of property, but not realised the significance of them. If you did, you may well have information that could assist us hugely. No matter how insignificant it may seem, please contact us.’
North West Borough Commander Roy Smith, said: ‘My thoughts are with the family who have lost two loved ones in the most tragic of circumstances.
‘I know the experienced investigation team are working around the clock to identify whoever is responsible as swiftly as possible and ensure they are brought to justice. We will leave no stone unturned. Extra resources have been brought in to help from across the Met including additional detectives.’
He continued: ‘I understand how alarmed and concerned residents will be about this incident given the circumstances.
‘I want to reassure them that officers have been carrying out extra patrols in the area since last Friday and local residents can expect to see this continue over coming days, but of course it’s timely to remind people to be vigilant, particularly after dark in parks and opens areas and report anything suspicious to us immediately.’
On Wednesday, a 36-year-old man was arrested in south London on suspicion of murder. He was taken into custody but released with no further action.