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Regent's Canal body in bags murder appeal

PUBLISHED: 11:17 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:53 07 September 2010

Paula Fields

Paula Fields

A FRESH appeal has been launched to trace the killer of a mother-of-three whose dismembered body was found by children in the Regent's Canal nine years ago. Body parts belonging to Paula Fields concealed in six holdall bags were dragged up

Ben McPartland

A FRESH appeal has been launched to trace the killer of a mother-of-three whose dismembered body was found by children in the Regent's Canal nine years ago.

Body parts belonging to Paula Fields concealed in six holdall bags were dragged up by three boys fishing in the canal in Camden on February 19 2001.

The 31-year-old's head and hands were missing and have never been found.

Now police have revealed for the first time that the murder is being linked to a similar grisly find in Rotterdam in 1990.

In the Dutch case, the body of Melissa Halstead, 33, was pulled from the Westersingel canal.

In February 2009, police teams linked up for the first time to form a joint investigation team.

Det Chief Insp Howard Groves said: "These two women were killed and their bodies disposed of in the most callous and undignified manner possible.

"Someone out there knows who committed these attacks and we appeal to anyone who has information which will allow us to catch the killer."

Her body was dismembered, wrapped in white plastic bags and then put into black bin liners. It was then dumped in six holdalls, which were weighed down by bricks.

The bags are believed to have been in the water for several months before they were discovered. Forensic experts used DNA samples to identify the body.

In February 2001, there were early police appeals asking for anyone with information to come forward.

Ms Fields' sister Irene had reported her missing the month before.

Making an emotional appeal at the time, she said: "All the family are devastated as to how someone could do this to Paula. She was young and should have had a lot of life in front of her."

Ms Fields was also known as Michelle or Lisa Barton. She was 5ft 2ins tall and had a Liverpudlian accent.

She was white, slim and had long, medium brown hair and blue/green eyes.

Ms Fields moved to London in about 1998 and lived in a bedsit in Highbury Grove.

She was known to work in the Queen's Drive area of Stoke Newington as a prostitute. It was there that she was last seen on December 13 2000 getting into a red saloon car.

She was known to use drugs and is thought to have been addicted to crack cocaine in particular. It is believed she had a £150-a- day habit - although this has not been confirmed.

DCI Groves and Dutch police representative Lian Berenpas appeared on BBC One's Crimewatch UK programme on Monday to launch a new appeal to catch the killer.


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