Man, 20, arrested on suspicion of murdering mum, 45, found dead near hospital

A 20-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a mum whose body was found in shrubbery after she left a hospital.

Maria Rawlings, 45, was found dead in Little Heath, Romford, east London last Tuesday by a man walking his dog.

The mum, from the Chelmsford area of Essex, had attended King George’s Hospital, in Ilford, east London, on May 3 and left on foot in the direction of the A12.

Police said they believe she was approached by someone while walking on Barley Lane the day before her body was found.

The suspect was arrested on Sunday and was taken to an east London police station for questioning.

The arrest followed the release of CCTV images of a man on board a bus. It was unclear whether that man was the person who was arrested.

A Met Police spokesperson said: “Detectives investigating the murder of Maria Rawlings have made an arrest.

“A 20-year-old man was arrested on Sunday, 9 May on suspicion of murder.

“He was taken to an east London police station where he remains in custody.

“Maria’s family have been informed.

“Police were called at 2pm on Tuesday, 4 May after Maria’s body was found in Little Heath, Romford, by a member of public.

“A post-mortem examination at Walthamstow Mortuary on Wednesday, 5 May, gave a preliminary cause for Maria’s death as neck compression and possible blunt force head trauma.

“Additional officers will remain in the local area to provide reassurance to the community.”

Detective Chief Inspector David Hillier, who is leading the murder investigation, added: “My thoughts remain with Maria’s family at this incredibly difficult time.