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Statement on the Leah Croucher missing persons investigation

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Matthew Barber, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley:

“Following the discovery of Leah Croucher’s body at a property in Milton Keynes in October, I called for the Chief Constable to present me with a review into Thames Valley Police’s original missing persons investigation.

“That review has now been concluded and it is clear that from the outset Leah’s disappearance was taken incredibly seriously by the Force. As well as the very public efforts made through house to house enquiries, CCTV reviews and public appeals, Thames Valley Police also consulted the National Crime Agency and others to support the investigation and utilise their expertise. There has been understandable public concern given what we now know, which was why I asked the Chief Constable for reassurances about the initial investigation. It seems clear that at no point from Leah’s disappearance until the October this year, was there any evidence to link Leah to Neil Maxwell, or indeed to link Maxwell with the property in Loxbeare Drive.

“From all of the evidence I have seen so far, there is nothing that suggests the police had any reasonable lines of enquiry that could have linked Leah’s disappearance to Maxwell or the property sooner. This horrific crime has impacted the whole of the community and the many police officers who have been involved in the search for Leah, but most of all her family who have had their lives torn apart by this tragedy.

“A live murder investigation continues to take place, which I hope will establish more information about what happened to Leah and if there are any lessons to be learnt for future investigations. If you have any information please contact Thames Valley Police on their website or by calling 101, quoting ‘Op Innsbruck’.

“You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”