Detectives have launched a murder inquiry after the body of a 80-year-old woman was found on an allotment site she helped to run in north London.
The body of “fragile” pensioner Lea Adri-Soejoko was found by police officers in a garden lock-up on the Colindale allotments after she had been reporting missing in the early hours of the morning.
Ms Adri-Soejoko, who is listed as the secretary of the Colindale Allotment & Garden Association, was found in a lock-up store at the site just after 2am on Tuesday. A post mortem has established how she died but details are being kept secret.
Scotland Yard said the victim was found by police in the shed on the communal plot in Sheaveshill Avenue, Colindale, 25 minutes after she was reported missing from her nearby home at 1.40am on Tuesday.
Ms Adri-Soejoko was said to be involved in the running of the allotments, a thriving self-managed site of around 95 plots which is described as over 100 years old.
Among the tenants is a charity group Freedom From Torture which rents six plots where refugees and survivors of torture from war torn countries in Africa can “connect with nature and explore their experiences.”
Neighbour Upinder Singh said: “I saw her last Friday when she was putting out the bins and my mum saw her two or three days ago. She was always pottering around in her big garden. She was fragile but capable, her daughter used to come every week but recently she has been coming a lot. The police car has been there for the last three days.”
Window cleaner Eddie Volkovskig, 24, kept his ladders at Lea’s home in Colindale, had no idea she was dead.
He said: “I saw police cars a few times in the road but didn’t think anything if it. Lea was very friendly and very happy. She was always looking after her plants and when I was growing tomatoes she would give me tips. I last saw her a couple of weeks ago, normally I keep my ladders next to the kitchen.”
Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh said: “At this stage we are keeping an open mind about any possible motive and would ask any witnesses or anyone with information to come forward. I make a direct appeal to anyone with links to these allotments who would have visited or had been in or around the area on Monday into the early hours of the following morning. An elderly woman lost her life in the most tragic way possible and was left inside a storage unit similar to a garage. If you know anything please contact us.”
Police said Ms Adri-Soejoko’s family had been told of her death.
Hushang Balyuzi, the chairman of the Barnet Allotment Federation, said he had been informed of her death by police who only said it was “suspicious.”
Anyone with information should call 020 8785 8099 or rind Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.