Leah Croucher suspect ‘grew beard and lost weight to avoid being recognised’

Police trying to unravel the mystery of Leah Croucher’s murder say their prime suspect, Neil Maxwell, may have disguised himself to “avoid being recognised” around the time of Leah’s death.

They have today released a new e-fit image of Maxwell as he may have appeared around the time of Leah’s disappearance.

Leah vanished on her way to work in Milton Keynes on February 15, 2019.

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In October last year, three years after her disappearance, a contractor who was working in the attic of a house not far from where the 19-year-old was last seen found human remains, which were later confirmed to be Leah’s.

A murder investigation was launched with 49-year-old Neil Maxwell as the prime suspect.

But the convicted sex offender and rapist had taken his own life on April 20, 2019 just months after Leah's abduction. Now police are trying to definitively tie Maxwell to the murder.

So far they have not found a single person who remembers seeing Maxwell in the area or road around the time Leah went missing.

Police say Maxwell "knew" he was wanted for questioning in connection with a sexual assault that occurred in 2018 and appeared to have made "extensive efforts to evade arrest" by using false names.

His body was found in a bin cupboard in Campbell Park in Milton Keynes, with a handwritten note on the door which read: "Please do not come in. There is a dead body inside. Call the police."

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Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter, Head of Crime at Thames Valley Police, said: “We are yet to identify anyone who had seen Maxwell in Loxbeare Drive, Furzton before, after or at any time close to when Leah went missing on 15 February 2019.

"The investigation has now established that Maxwell is likely to have changed his appearance to avoid being recognised.

"He had grown a beard and may have lost weight".

He added: "We have therefore generated a computer image of how Maxwell may have looked around the time Leah went missing in the hope that it may jog someone’s memory.

"Did you see this person in or around Loxbeare Drive, Furzton at any time between December 2018 and 20 April 2019?

"Do you know where he was between December 2018 and 20 April 2019, what phone number he was using, what vehicle he was driving, who he was with or any other useful information that can help us establish the truth for Leah’s family?”


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