'Killer' believed to have jumped overboard after strangling Mitcham mum
A mother strangled during a boating holiday in the Norfolk Broads is believed to have been killed by her lover who later threw himself overboard and drowned.
The body of Annette Creegan, 49, of Beechholme Avenue in Mitcham, was found by police divers on Tuesday in the River Bure on Sunday – her lover’s body was nearby.
Police believe she was dead before entering the water and a post mortem examination revealed she died from strangulation.
Her partner, John Didier, died as the result of drowning and his death is not thought to be suspicious.
Police launched a search for the bodies after finding the victim's 13-year-old daughter alone on a boat after a hire company alerted police that the vessel had not been returned.
It is thought the girl may have been unaware that either adult was dead when she was found on board by police on Saturday.
The deaths are being treated as a "domestic incident" and police are not seeking anyone else in connection with it.
Police are looking at the possibility Mr Didier, who was originally from Arkansas in the US and worked for the NHS, killed Mrs Creegan before taking his own life several days later.
Mrs Creegan worked as a palliative care nurse at Trinity Hospice in Clapham. The hospice said: “Annette Creegan worked at Trinity for over 13 years and was a truly wonderful and well-respected member of our home care nursing team.
"She was devoted to improving the lives of her patients and ensuring they could remain at home if they wished.
"Everyone at Trinity is devastated by this tragedy, and our thoughts are with Annette’s daughter and her family at this sad time."
Police were seen at the Beechholme Avenue home on Tuesday taking away a computer and other material in brown envelopes.
Neighbour Julian Jones, 21, said: "She was quiet. She lived with her daughter, by themselves, for the last 10 years. I have lived here for 15 years. She's known in the area."
The 21-year-old also spoke about John Didier, saying: "He had only recently moved in the last few months. I spoke to him for the first time a few months ago.
"It's crazy, you wouldn't have thought it round here."
Maz Jones, 25, another neighbour said: "We used to have New Years Eve parties years ago and she would be there with her kid."
Another neighbour described Ms Creegan as a lovely lady who was "devoted" to her daughter.
She said: "We just thought there had been a burglary or something. She was a really lovely lady and really nice. I was devastated, I just couldn't believe it. She idolized her daughter. They were always together. It's really sad, just awful."
Last night Adrian Cook, an ice cream seller who works on the river where the couple were found, described an encounter with a man believed to be Mr Didier earlier in the week.
He said: "I think the boat had been there for a good seven days. There was something odd about it because all the curtains were closed and it looked like no one was on board."
Concerned, Mr Cook eventually approached it at about 5.30pm on Tuesday.
He said: "I brought my boat up close and went gently up and down and looked into the bathroom window a bit.
"That was when a man stumbled through from the front to the middle of the boat and said he did not want to buy anything. He said: ‘Go away’ and brushed me away with his hand."
Detective Superintendent Jes Fry, Norfolk major investigation team said: "Our primary concern is for the continued welfare of a 13 -year-old girl who has suffered a traumatic experience, as well as other family members.”
The girl, who has been interviewed by police, is being supported by relatives.