Double-murder suspect found gravely injured on barge in west London

Double-murder suspect Lee Peacock is found gravely injured on a barge in west London ‘after cutting his own throat’ days after police said they wanted to quiz him over fatal Westminster knife attacks

  • Police say they are ‘confident’ they have found a man wanted for two murders
  • Lee Peacock was found on a canal barge in Ealing with serious injuries yesterday
  • Met Police believe he murdered Sharon Pickles, 45, and Clinton Ashmore, 59  

Police say they have found a man wanted in connection with two murders in Westminster on a canal barge in west London with serious injuries.

Lee Peacock was seen at North Wembley station on the evening of August 19, the same evening the Metropolitan Police believes he murdered two people.

Officers are ‘confident’ they found the 49-year-old at just before 6pm on Wednesday in a canal barge near Ferrymead Avenue in Ealing as part of an ongoing investigation.

The man has sustained serious injuries, which are believed to be self-inflicted.

Initial reports said someone had suffered a slit throat but this has not been confirmed by Met Police.

Several police cars and an ambulance vehicle were spotted parked up on Kensington Road, Ealing, on Wednesday evening

Lee Peacock (pictured) was seen at North Wembley station on the evening of August 19, the same evening the Metropolitan Police believes he murdered two people

London Ambulance Service paramedics and the London Air Ambulance were called and the man was transported to hospital where his condition is believed to be life-threatening.

Flight tracking sites showed a helicopter, which appeared to have left Royal London Hospital, circling several times above the canal and Northala Fields are before returning to the hospital. 

A large police presence, including several vehicles, was seen in the surrounding roads. 

People took to social media to share clips of the various emergency response vehicles with flashing blue lights. 

Scotland Yard said earlier this week that it believed the killings of 59-year-old Clinton Ashmore (left) and 45-year-old Sharon Pickles (right) were linked

Some claimed the police had been in the area since around 6.15pm and explained cars had been queueing in the area due to road closures. 

The B455 Ruislip Road was closed from Ferrymead Avenue and Lady Margaret Road while police attended the incident.  

The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed and the incident was referred to the police watchdog which has indicated it will be conducting an independent investigation

Convicted prostitute Sharon Pickles, 45, was found with her throat cut inside the ground-floor flat of a wheelchair-bound pensioner in Marylebone, central London, at around 9.30pm last Thursday night.

Less than five hours later, police discovered the body of 59-year-old Clinton Ashmore – known locally as ‘Cliff’ – at another flat five minutes walk away. His throat had also been cut.

Forensic investigators were seen gathering evidence near a houseboat where wanted man Lee Peacock was located

Investigations teams worked through the night gathering information close to where Peacock was found

Their deaths were previously reported to have been linked to a £120 drug deal. 

The Metropolitan Police said both had died from a stab wound to the neck and the two incidents were being treated as linked.

Detectives issued an appeal on Friday for information about Peacock, who they wanted to locate and speak to about the murders.

They issued CCTV footage of the prime suspect on the night of the killings in an effort to track him down. 

The clip shows Peacock at North Wembley Station on the night of the killings in a bid to help trace him. A £20,000 reward was posted.

Police believe he knew both Ms Pickles and Mr Ashmore. 

Local residents said Peacock was the long term boyfriend of drug user Ms Pickles.

A woman called Sarah, who grew up in the area and had met Ms Pickles on a number of occasions, said: ‘I had spoken to her a couple of times and she was always nice and quiet – a skinny little thing.

‘She took drugs, but she was trying to come off them, and she wasn’t a bad woman. Some of my close friends used to go in that flat and knew Sharon well.

Police released CCTV of suspect Lea Peacock who they want to speak to in connection with the murders of Sharon Pickles and Cliff Ashmore who neighbours say were killed over drugs

‘Lee wanted to buy £120 of crack off Cliff. That’s what happened. It’s all about drugs.’

Mary, a woman in her 80s who lives across the road from the flat where Ms Pickles was found dead, said: ‘I’ve lived here all my life.

‘It’s a very mixed up thing, because the young lady that was killed was looking after an elderly gentleman.

‘Then her ex-boyfriend came along. I saw him. He was standing on that corner over there and I told him not to get in any more trouble.’ 

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘You used to see people coming by the flat to pick up drugs.

‘It’s been going on for years and everybody knows about it. She was caring for an older gentleman, called Stephen, who I have known all my life.

‘He was a nice chap, but I hadn’t seen him in a long, long time.

Police released this CCTV footage of Lee Peacock at North Wembley station (left and pictured right) and have warned the public not to approach him if spotted but to ring 999 immediately

‘I think he was just very ill and bedridden, but I can’t prove that, because I haven’t seen him.’  

A special post mortem confirmed that both victims died as a result of an ‘incised wound’ to the neck. Their families have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

It has also emerged that Ms Pickles was known to police, having clocked up more than 120 convictions for prostitution offences between 1996 and 2006.

Originally from Yorkshire, she was one of two prostitutes handed an Asbo in 2006, banning her from setting foot in nearby Sussex Gardens, Paddington.

Sam Taylor, 30, who has lived for several years in Alpha House where here body was found, said: ‘I’ve been on the estate for over 15 years and so have witnessed what happened and should have been avoided.

‘She was cuckooing a disabled guy in there with her boyfriend Lee.

Detective Superintendent Luke Marks (pictured) said he would like to reassure the public that the Metropolitan Police have a dedicated team of officers who are tasked with finding Peacock

‘We tried to get Stephen out, but the council believed that they were carers or relatives.

‘Whenever the police or council called, Lee claimed to be a nephew or relative.

‘They’ve been hell for everyone living here who have been terrorised by fights and people off their heads on drugs.

‘People have been threatened and windows smashed.

‘She was obviously also involved in prostitution, as that’s been reported in the past. 

‘We’ve literally done everything we could over the past 15 years to avoid this. Why was she allowed to do this after she was clearly on the police’s radar for prostitution?

‘I know people who have sold their flats and done all sorts to get away from her.’

Detectives warned members of the public not to approach Peacock – and to dial 999 immediately if they see him or know of his whereabouts.

They have released CCTV footage showing him at North Wembley Station last Thursday night when the bodies were found.

Flight tracking sites showed a helicopter, which appeared to have left Royal London Hospital, circling several times above Northala Fields (pictured)

The helicopter then ventured back from the area of Northolt before returning to Royal London Hospital (pictured)

Detective Superintendent Luke Marks, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: ‘I am appealing for further information about the whereabouts of 49-year-old Lee Peacock, who we need to speak to urgently about the murders of two people in Westminster.

‘I am asking anybody who sees Lee to call us immediately on 999. I would urge members of the public not to approach him, but instead to call police as soon as possible.

‘I believe Lee could have important information about the deaths of two people whose bodies were found at two properties in Westminster.’

Det Supt Marks added: ‘At this early stage we are retaining an open mind concerning motive, but we are treating these crimes as linked.

‘I know this will cause concern among the community, but I would like to reassure the public that we have a dedicated team of officers who are tasked with finding Lee.

‘We are also offering a £20,000 reward for any information leading to the conviction of the individual responsible for these murders.’ 

Westminster Council was contacted for comment.  

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