Page last updated at 10:15 GMT, Saturday, 13 June 2009 11:15 UK

Family appeals over killer rapist

Michelle Samaraweera
Miss Samaraweera was seen at a Somerfield shop before the attack

The family of a woman raped and strangled in east London has appealed for help to find her attacker.

The partially-clothed body of Michelle Samaraweera, 35, of Walthamstow, was found by a passer-by in Queens Road Park in the early hours of 30 May.

Her older sister Ann Chandradasa, 37, said the family was in pieces and sickened by the manner of her death.

She urged any other rape victims to come forward after police said the same man may have attacked other women.

Nobody deserves for this to happen and to end up dumped in a children's playground is just sickening
Ann Chandradasa, Michelle Samaraweera's sister

Police believe the suspect, described as Asian, or with dark skin, and aged between 30 and 45 years, may have raped a 59-year-old in March and a 46-year-old in April, both less than a mile from the murder.

Officers believe the suspect lives near the park and last week began house-to-house inquiries with those matching the suspect's description asked to provide DNA.

Mrs Chandradasa said: "We are sickened by what has happened to our baby sister. Michelle was the youngest and we always protected and shielded her.

"Nobody deserves for this to happen and to end up dumped in a children's playground is just sickening.

"My mum is in pieces - we're all in pieces... but we're trying to stay strong for each other."

Women 'extra vigilant'

She appealed for people to come forward with information about her sister's death or the two attacks.

"There could be other women out there who have been attacked but haven't come forward and they could help solve this."

Miss Samaraweera, a widow who was living with her boyfriend in Walthamstow, was last seen alive at a nearby Somerfield shop five hours earlier.

The incidents have led to fears in the area, with businesses offering female employees taxi rides home and pubs putting up signs to warn people to be on their guard late at night.

Waltham Forest borough commander Ch Supt Mark Benbow said patrols had been stepped up and asked women to be "especially vigilant".

Four men were arrested after the death - two were released with no further action while the other two were bailed to return in July.



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