Two sisters celebrating a birthday with friends in London were stabbed to death by a stranger, according to police.
Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, have stayed after the party even when others had left. Officers believed they were murdered over the next couple of hours.
Both women were reported missing on Saturday when they had not returned home. Their bodies were later discovered on Sunday at the Fryent Country Park where they met friends and family two days earlier to celebrate Henry’s birthday.
Meanwhile, a 36-year-old man was arrested this week in south London on suspicion of murder but he was later released with no further action in connection with the two sisters’ death.
Police said they were underway with an extensive search operation at the crime scene and digging through tonnes of garbage from a local refuse depot in search of items that would help point to the killing.
“This is an unthinkably harrowing and tragic incident and my first thoughts remain with Nicole and Bibaa’s close family and friends who are going through the most unimaginable pain and suffering,” said DCI Simon Harding.
“There have been a number of factors involved in both the incident and the aftermath which have required extra time and care in enabling us to create a clear picture of what has taken place, but what we can now say with some certainty is that Nicole and Bibaa were murdered by someone unknown to them,” he added.
Meanwhile, talk of a man scaring women circulated on social media days before the killing, with a Snapchat user warning people, especially women, to “beware” of the man.
Killing by a stranger is rare in the UK with only less than 3% of the most recent figures for homicide, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
Henry and Smallman were daughters of Wilhelmina Smallman, the first female archdeacon of the Church of England.
Henry was a senior social worker at Buckinghamshire council and a mother of one. She recently started working for a marketing company called BALL Events and Promotion. Meanwhile, Smallman was a freelance photographer and a graduate of the University of Westminster.