Police charge man with murder of mother whose body was discovered in bushes in East London

The body of Maria Jane Rawlings, 45, was discovered amongst shrubbery earlier this week

The mother of two was discovered by a dog walker on Tuesday, May 4.

A 20-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a mother-of-two who is thought to have been attacked after leaving a hospital.

Maria Jane Rawlings, 45, of Chelmsford in Essex, was discovered in shrubbery by a dog walker around 2pm in Romford, East London on Tuesday 4 May.

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Police believe she was attacked after leaving the King George Hospital in Goodmayes, Ilford, the previous evening, walking to Barley Lane in the direction of the A12.

Valentin Lazar from Barking was charged on Monday evening and is due to appear in custody at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

A post-mortem examination found that Ms Rawlings had been strangled and had suffered head injuries.

Detective Chief Inspector David Hillier, who is leading the murder investigation, said: “My thoughts remain with Maria’s family at this incredibly difficult time.”

Anyone with information can contact the incident room on 020 8345 3865 or by calling 101 or tweeting @MetCC, and quoting the reference CAD3551/4May.

Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman, head of the borough command unit for Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge, said: “I understand the concerns around safety that will arise from this, particularly from women, and we have increased patrols in the area from our local policing teams.

“Community safety remains a high priority and I urge anyone who has any concerns to speak to my officers when you see them, or contact us.”

Officers continue to examine the scene where the body was discovered, and are expected to remain there in the coming days.

Flowers have been laid at the scene, which is currently taped off by police.

Additional reporting by PA.