Detectives investigating the disappearance of a man in south London have found a body in the boot of a car, three weeks after he went missing.
The family of a 34-year-old Justin Henry – who was last seen in person at his partner’s home on 15 October – have been informed of the discovery near Croydon. But formal identification has yet to be completed, the Metropolitan Police said.
Two men, aged 29 and 28, have been charged with Mr Henry’s murder, while a 27-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of kidnapping has been bailed pending further enquiries.
On Monday evening, police officers investigating his disappearance located a Red Nissan Almera car parked near Nicholass Court in Dale Road, Purley.
The car was treated as a crime scene on Monday to preserve evidence, Scotland Yard said, with the body located on Tuesday. A post-mortem examination was conducted on Thursday but no cause of death was established and further tests will be carried out, according to the force.
“Due to the need to preserve forensic evidence, officers conducted a careful and methodical examination of the scene,” said Detective Chief Inspector Matt Webb, of the Met’s specialist crime command.
“However, on Tuesday, we confirmed that a body was in the car and we spoke to Justin’s family later that day. We are waiting to formally confirm the identity of the body.
“My heart goes out to his family who have suffered weeks of anxiously waiting for news. Justin’s family are understandably very upset and we would ask media to respect their privacy at this very difficult time.”
He added: “While we have charged two people with Justin’s murder, we would still like anyone who has any information of the red Nissan’s movements in the days following Justin’s disappearance to call police – we still need and ask for the public’s help.”
Mr Henry, who has links to the SE23 area – which covers Forest Hill, Honor Oak and parts of Crofton Park – was last seen in person at his partner’s home in Brixton on 15 October, and was reported missing a day later.
He was last spotted on CCTV buying food at a McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant on London Road in Croydon at about 9.50pm on 15 Ocober.
Detectives believe that, after leaving the McDonald’s, he drove to nearby Waddon New Road where his silver Mercedes E Class remained for around two-and-a-half hours.
The Mercedes was found the following day some 7 kilometres away in Kingswood Drive, Sydenham Hill. It is unclear who was driving the vehicle when it arrived there just before 1am on that day due to indistinct CCTV image of the driver, but Mr Henry’s family have said it was not him.
Officers have conducted forensic examinations of an address in Croydon and Mr Henry’s car, as well as extensive CCTV and phone inquiries.
Mr Henry was wearing distinctive jewellery of a Rolex watch, three Cartier bracelets and a diamond ring before he disappeared, police said.
Police are appealing for anyone with information to call the force on 101 or contact on Twitter/X MetCC, quoting Operation Ashgulf or CAD 1523/02NOV. To remain anonymous contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.