‘The agony and pain of wondering where you are is over, yet the torture is far from being done’: Grieving sister of Leah Croucher tells of family’s agony as they face their ‘worst nightmare’ that she was murdered by convicted sex offender
- Jade Croucher says family is facing ‘the scariest reality’ that Leah was murdered
- Her remains were found in a house near where she went missing on October 10
- Police confirmed four days later that prime suspect was convicted sex offender
- Neil Maxwell, 49, took his own life just two months after Leah went missing
The grieving sister of Leah Croucher had told of her family’s agony as they face their ‘worst nightmare’ that she was murdered by a convicted sex offender.
Jade Croucher, 26, says the ‘agony and pain’ of wondering what had happened to her sister is now over after police confirmed her remains had been found in the loft of a property in Furzton, Milton Keynes, on October 10 – close to where she went missing in 2019.
But Jade added that the family now face their ‘scariest reality’ that she was murdered by an ‘evil’ man.
Thames Valley Police announced four days after Leah’s death that deceased convicted sex offender, 49-year-old Neil Maxwell, was the prime suspect in their investigation.
Maxwell took his own life just two months after 19-year-old Leah went missing on February 15, 2019. He was he was sought by cops at the time for an unrelated allegation of sexual assault.
Taking to Facebook to post a heartbreaking statement, young mother Jade said: ‘The agony and pain of wondering where you are is now over, yet the torture is far from being done.
Leah Croucher’s remains were found in the loft of a property in Furzton, Milton Keynes, on October 10 – close to where she went missing in 2019
Leah Croucher (right) with her sister Jade (left), who today said told of her family’s agony as they face their ‘worst nightmare’ that she was murdered by a convicted sex offender
Thames Valley Police announced four days after Leah’s death that deceased convicted sex offender, 49-year-old Neil Maxwell, was the prime suspect in their investigation
Human remains were found in the loft of a property at Loxbeare Drive in Furzton, Milton Keynes (pictured) along with Leah’s rucksack and other personal possessions
‘We now face the scariest reality, our worst nightmare. That you, our beautiful, loving, caring, innocent girl have been murdered by someone so evil.’
Jade and her family spent three years and eight months longing for answers and praying for Leah to come home.
She added: ‘We knew something was wrong, we vowed from the very start that you did not choose to disappear.
‘We were certain you wouldn’t put us through the worry. We knew in our hearts that something terrible had happened.
‘But when the news was broken to us that your body was found in that house of horrors on a path on your route to work our worlds crumbled…
‘How could anyone bring such a beautiful life to an end in such a tragic way? How could anyone upset you, let alone harm you?’
Just months after Leah’s disappearance, her brother Haydon Croucher, 24, took his own life after becoming distraught at not knowing what had happened to her.
Jade continued: ‘I honestly do not know how we will ever recover from this excruciating pain, the sheer horror of what we have been put through and most importantly the heartache of losing you, especially like this.’
She added: ‘Let it be known to the whole wide world that the person responsible for your murder has Haydon’s blood on their hands too.
‘For now all I can take comfort in is the thought that you two are together in heaven where one day I will be reunited with you both.’
Leah. a talented martial artist, was described as a ‘bright, funny young woman’ whose ‘smile lit up the room’
This was the final image of Leah ever captured before she disappeared and failed to show up to work
People laid tributes and flowers outside the house where Leah’s remains were found earlier this month
Jade also said: ‘I hope you know how hard we fought to find you.. I hope you know how loved you are by all of us, your family, your friends, the whole of Milton Keynes and in fact far beyond.
‘Our Leah, your warmth, radiance and beautiful soul made such an impact on the lives of those of us lucky enough to be blessed with knowing you and loving you*
‘Sleep tight my baby sister, in the peace that you deserve away from this cruel world.’
Leah, an office worker, vanished without a trace on her way to work on February 15, 2019, sparking a major police search.
CCTV footage showed her walking to work, but her worried family raised the alarm when she never returned home.
Police launched a major search for her and twice visited the house her body was found as part of more than 4,000 door-to-door inquiries over the course of the investigation.
On both occasions there was no answer at the property and leaflets were left.
Officers also looked at more than 1,200 hours of CCTV during the painstaking investigation, which saw specialist search teams drafted in.
But despite the extensive probe, detectives found no leads.
A £10,000 reward offered for information in August 2020, which was doubled the following March when police said they’d had ‘no significant leads’ in the ‘bewildering and frustrating’ case.
But earlier this month, police began searching a £500,000 property in Loxbeare Drive, Milton Keynes, after a tip-off from a member of the public.
Officers had begun searching the home earlier in October, and launched a murder investigation two days later after the 19-year-old’s rucksack was found at the property.
Convicted sex offender Neil Maxwell, who is suspected of murdering Ms Croucher while on the run, killed himself in April 2019 before police could catch him.
Eighteen attempts were made to arrest Maxwell while he was wanted, following an alleged sexual assault in 2018.
He was the only person with keys to the Loxbeare Drive house at the time of Ms Croucher’s disappearance, police said.
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