Police have begun a murder investigation after a woman died having suffered serious head injuries in “a horrific assault” on a street in east London.
The 36-year-old was walking along Cranbrook Road in the direction of Gants Hill station in Ilford when she was attacked in the early hours of Sunday morning. She later died in hospital.
Formal identification has yet to take place but the victim’s family have been informed and are receiving support from specially trained officers, police said.
A cordon remains in place at the scene, which is close to Valentines Park, with a section of Cranbrook Road closed to the public and only residents allowed through the cordon.
No arrests have been made and the Metropolitan police has appealed for any witnesses to come forward.
They said officers were called to the scene by the London ambulance service at 2.44am.
Ch Supt Stuart Bell, who leads the Met’s east area basic command unit, said: “The woman had been subjected to a horrific assault and sadly passed away as a result of her injuries.
“Teams of dedicated officers are working at pace to establish what happened and identify the person responsible. This includes full forensic examination of the scene and the surrounding area, house-to-house inquiries and a focus on identifying all available CCTV.
“Local people will see a significant police presence in the area today and in the coming days. I understand that for women, particularly locally, this is an incredibly distressing incident, and I urge you to be alert but not alarmed.”
DCI Mark Rogers, of the Met’s specialist crime north command, who is leading the investigation, said: “It is vital that my officers speak with every possible witness and everyone with information that may assist the investigation.
“We are appealing for anyone who was in the Cranbrook Road area of Ilford between 2am and 3am on Sunday morning to get in touch, including anyone who drove through the area and may have dashcam footage. We also want to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in the wider Ilford area overnight.”
Anyone with information or footage, or any witnesses, are asked to call the major incident room on 0208 345 3715 or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.
Jas Athwal, the leader of Redbridge council, wrote on Twitter: “Police & Council officers are piecing together the events leading up to the heinous murder in Gants Hill last night. I’m in contact with the police to ensure extra reassurance patrols are in place.”