Police are working 'hard and fast' to hunt down the prime suspect in the murder of sex worker Maria Duque-Tunjano, the detective leading the investigation said today.
Chief inspector Nicola Wall said the MET considers 39-year-old Robert Richard Fraser to be a danger to the public and likely to still be in the London area.
The body of Ms Duque-Tunjano, 48, was found in bed and covered by a blanket at a multi-million pound townhouse in Earls Court Square on January 31. CCTV showing Jamaican born Fraser - who is also wanted for an assault on another sex worker in Paddington - in Central London on Sunday February 2 was released today.
Chief Insp Wall said: "We are looking for Robert Fraser in connection with the murder of Maria. He remains at large and we consider him to be a danger to the public and he must not be approached. If anyone sees him you must dial 999 immediately. He has connections in Golders Green and Edgeware Road and we do believe him to still be in the London area.
"We have had an excellent response from members of the public and from sex workers. We are working hard and fast and acting on information that has been given to us. I would urge Robert Fraser to hand himself in to the nearest police station or phone 020 8785 8244 as soon as possible."
Police say the murder of Ms Duque-Tunjano and the earlier assault on a woman sex worker in her 20s on January 18 are similar in nature. Both victims had been robbed of a quantity of cash.
Chief Insp Wall added: "We have spoken to organisations REHAB and ETAB with links to those who work in the sex industry to make them aware of this incident and pass on the message that personal safety of sex workers is of paramount importance."
Flowers and cards have been left outside the flat in tribute to who was described by friends as a “friendly and polite” woman. In one card outside the flat a friend wrote: "Thank you for being in our lives. You were one of the kindest, friendliest and happiest people I have ever known. Your presence will be missed but will never be forgotten. May you now find the peace and happiness that was not granted to you in life."
Police believe that Ms Duque-Tunjano was killed late in the evening of Tuesday January 28 with her body lying undiscovered in the flat for three days. She was a British national originally from Colombia who lived in Streatham, and had used the Earl's Court flat for work.
It is believed that she had been working around the clock to send money back to her family in Colombia and her sister Olga, a mother with a young child who lived near to her in Streatham, according to a friend who found her body.
A friend of Maria's is quoted as saying that she went to check on Ms Duque-Tunjano after being unable to contact her. She said: “It was the worst experience of my life. I am still having nightmares. She was covered with a blanket. I took it off to see her face and I immediately knew she was dead. It looked like she had been hit in the face, there was blood all over. She was beaten brutally.”
“She was an amazing person. She was not very happy doing this work, she found it hard to do, she didn't want to do it but she did it for her family. She also wanted to get married to her boyfriend and they were making plans but she had too many people to support.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8785 8244 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. For an immediate sighting of Robert Richard Fraser, dial 999.