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Detective Inspector Mike Smith
"Body parts are missing"
 real 28k

Friday, 2 March, 2001, 17:17 GMT
Canal body identified as prostitute
Detective Inspector Mike Smith
Detective Inspector Mike Smith appeals for information
Scotland Yard has identified the young woman whose dismembered body was discovered last week in a North London canal.

She has been named as 31-year-old Paula Fields, a prostitute who worked in the Stoke Newington area. She was last seen getting into a red car on 13 December last year.

A very macabre way to dispose of a body

Detective Inspector Mike Smith

Police say the killer cut her body into several parts, wrapped them in bin liners, and placed them in bags weighted with bricks. They were then thrown into the Regent's Canal, at Camden.

Missing parts

The murder hunt began when three boys fishing in the canal found one of the bags. Despite an extensive search of the waterway by police divers, parts of the woman's body are still missing.

Paula Fields
Paula Fields: Last seen on 13 December

Police say it is possible that the killer may have kept them as a gruesome "trophy" of the crime.

A post mortem examination has so far failed to reveal exactly how Miss Fields died, or the implements used to cut up her body.

Miss Fields was a user of crack cocaine, say police, and was believed to have spent up to 150 a day on the drug. It is thought she became a prostitute to support her habit.

She was from Liverpool, and had been in London for three years. At the time of her death she was living alone in a bed-sit in Highbury Grove. She was also known as Michelle or Lisa Barton.

She was the baby of our family

Paula's sister Irene

Detectives believe the person Paula got into the car with could have been her killer, or may just have been part of her normal "trade" as a prostitute. They say they need to know more about her life in London.

DNA proof

The body was identified by matching blood with records held by the police in a DNA database. The search of the canal for missing body parts is expected to continue for another two or three days.

Bag used for body disposal
A bag like this was used for the body disposal

"It is a very macabre way to dispose of a body," said Detective Inspector Mike Smith, of the Yard's Serious Crime Group.

"It has obviously taken somebody some time to cut up the body, wrap it up, place it in bags, and then carry it to the canal.

"We have so far found six bags; there are obviously other bags missing because we have body parts missing."


Paula's sister Irene appealed for the public to help catch the killer.

"Paula was the youngest sister and the baby of our family," she said, fighting back tears.

"She was young and should have had a lot of life in front of her."

Paula's sister Irene
Paula's sister Irene appeals for help

The police say they want to hear from anyone who knew Paula, or thinks they may have seen her before her disappearance.

Another murder investigation is already underway, following the discovery in December of the severed body of a young woman in the River Thames at Battersea.

No links

Zoe Parker, aged 24, from West London, was cut in half at the waist. Detectives have compared the cases, but have so far found nothing to link the two murders.

A meeting has been held this week with officers investigating the disappearance of a number of young women from the London area, feared to have been abducted.

But Detective Inspector Smith told BBC News Online: "At this stage there is nothing to indicate this case is connected to any other crime."

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See also:

29 Dec 00 | UK
Torso murder woman named
05 Jan 01 | UK
Torso murder family appeal
21 Dec 00 | UK
The families who wait
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