Detectives are today investigating whether a young woman whose torso was found floating in a London canal was the victim of a voodoostyle ritual killing.
The dismembered body, stuffed in a suitcase, was discovered by teenagers playing by the Regent’s Park Canal in Islington on Saturday.
Officers are yet to identify the victim. A post-mortem examination has established she was a slim, black woman aged between 18 and 30 and 5ft 3in tall.
The cause of death is not yet known but police today said they were not ruling out links to the so-called “black magic” killing of a five-year-old African boy whose torso was found in the Thames in 2001.
There are also similarities to the murder of prostitute Paula Fields, whose dismembered body was discovered in a suitcase in the same canal four years ago.
“In due course we will be liaising with our colleagues on other cases,” a Metropolitan Police spokesman said. “We are at an early stage in investigations.”
Police were today making house-to-house enquiries in the area and among the houseboat community. “They are our best chance of witnesses because they are so close,” said a Met spokesman.
“We are pretty certain the case was dumped in the Islington area because it was too heavy to have floated far and there is very little current.”
Detective Superintendent Maureen Boyle added : “There are a number of access points along this stretch of the canal and I would ask for people to come forward if they have seen anyone acting strangely over the past seven days.”
The police incident room is on 020 8345 3985.