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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 07:51 GMT 08:51 UK
Thames torso police meet occult experts
Police graphic of boy's torso
The boy was found wearing orange shorts
Detectives investigating the murder of a five-year-old boy, whose severed torso was found in the River Thames, are meeting experts on ritualistic killings in South Africa.

They hope officers from the world's only Occult Crimes Unit will be able to help them identify the child and his killers.

Scotland Yard believes the killing could be Britain's first "muti" murder and a South African pathologist who carried out a post mortem said he found all the hallmarks of a ritualistic killing.

Mr Mandela is a highly respected, valued and revered man by people across the world

Commander Baker
Commander Andy Baker and Detective Inspector Will O'Reilly will also brief Nelson Mandela about the murder, before the former South African leader makes a public appeal for information on Friday.

The torso of the boy, who has been named 'Adam' by officers, was discovered near Tower Bridge in September of last year.

During their trip the detectives will also meet academics, doctors and spiritualists in the hope of shedding new light on the investigation.

Although the crime is unknown in Britain, South African police deal with a number of ritualistic murders every year.

Scotland Yard also hopes ground-breaking forensic work will paint a biological picture of Adam, and reveal a specific country or region where he grew up.

It believes Mr Mandela's intervention in the case could lead to new information.

Commander Baker said: "Mr Mandela is a highly respected, valued and revered man by people across the world and in particular by the African community.

"Scotland Yard is deeply grateful he has agreed to help with this inquiry, and we hope that his valuable contribution will encourage those with information to come forward."

Orange shorts

Since the boy's body was discovered officers have been unable to find out who he is, despite extensive inquiries and the offer of a 50,000 reward.

Adam, who is black, was found in just a pair of orange shorts.

No-one fitting the boy's description has been reported missing in the UK or Europe.

Police believe he was killed in London but that he originally came from Africa.

They say the possibility he was killed by paedophiles is looking increasingly remote.

See also:

08 Mar 02 | UK
Voodoo 'practised in UK'
29 Jan 02 | England
Thames torso 'was human sacrifice'
21 Dec 01 | England
Torso murder reward offered
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