A BODY found in a lock-up garage in London is that of missing oil executive Carole Waugh.
The 50-year-old, originally from Durham, died after suffering a single stab wound.
Miss Waugh had not been seen by her family since mid-April and concerns for her safety grew after a fraudster tried to sell her central London flat by posing as her brother.
Scotland Yard said a post-mortem examination held at Kingston mortuary yesterday found a single stab wound on the body. Further examinations will be made to establish the exact cause of Miss Waugh’s death.
Her body was found in a car inside the lock-up garage in Lime Court, New Malden, south-west London, on Thursday night, a day after police upgraded their search for her to a murder investigation and warned she had not been seen alive since April 16.
The lock-up is in a row of garages behind two detached 1930s houses in a quiet street and yesterday forensic teams remained at the scene, which was taped off with a community support officer standing guard.
Matt Elcox, 17, who lives in a house backing on to the area, said: “I was woken by the sound of police cars coming and going late last night.
“I looked out of the window but thought it was just a stolen car or something like that, so went back to bed.
“It is surprising because you don’t see much activity around the garages and certainly nothing suspicious.”
One man who has worked nearby for about five years said the garages were mainly used for storage by builders.
He said: “There have been some small problems with stolen goods being stored but certainly no major crime.”
Local resident Karen Tucker, 28, said: “I had read about the missing woman but did not think there was any link to this area. When I turned on the news this morning it came as a complete shock and it’s still sinking in. We love living here because it’s nice and quiet with no trouble.”
Police announced on Wednesday that Miss Waugh’s disappearance was being treated as a murder and that they had arrested a 47-year-old man on suspicion of kidnap, conspiracy to defraud and murder. He was arrested when he came into Luton Airport on Tuesday, initially on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and kidnap, and then later murder.
He remains in custody at a south London police station after Croydon magistrate granted police further time to hold him.
So far, a total of 10 people have been arrested in connection with the inquiry.
At least three women have tried to pose as her since she vanished, police said.
Miss Waugh, who owned a flat in Harrowby Street, Marylebone, was reported missing by her family on May 7, but they had last seen her at a family party in mid-April.
She had lived and worked in Libya for a number of years, but returned to London in 2008 with enough money, her family said, to live comfortably, and would regularly visit relatives in Durham and Cumbria.
Detectives said she met men through internet sites, including dating websites, and they were investigating the possibility she might have been an escort.
Miss Waugh’s former boss, Stuart Anderson, said she had fled Libya after being threatened by someone in Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, but a Scotland Yard spokesman said inquiries are focused in London.
He would also not comment on reports that Miss Waugh’s body had been in the garage for months.
Police are appealing for information about the blue Volkswagen Golf which has the registration number W466 NHL.
Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane said: “We need to hear from anyone with information on the car, particularly since April this year. Anyone who can assist us on where it has been since then, or can advise on anyone with a connection to it, should come forward.”