Leah Croucher death: Teenager 'unlawfully killed' after going missing while walking to work, coroner rules

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Teenager Leah Croucher was unlawfully killed after going missing while walking to work on February 15 2019, a coroner has concluded.

Senior coroner Tom Osborne said Ms Croucher was murdered by Neil Maxwell, a previously convicted sex offender, and identified a number of failings with regard to the monitoring of Maxwell.

He said the failings did not contribute directly to her death, but it is “possible that the findings may have played a part in her death”. Mr Osborne labelled the take up and vetting of officers that can use a system for sharing information “woefully inadequate” and will be writing a preventing future deaths report to the minister who will be in charge of prisons and probation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Croucher was reported missing on the evening of 15 February 2019 after she failed to turn up to her work shift or return to her home in the Emerson Valley area of Milton Keynes later that evening. The last time she was confirmed to have been seen that day was just after 8am, when a CCTV camera pictured her on Buzzacott Lane in Furzton walking in the direction of her workplace.

Leah CroucherLeah Croucher
Leah Croucher

Police noted that her mobile left the network at 8.34am that morning and was never reconnected. Search teams began searching for the teenager three days after she was first reported missing and continued for a number of days after, however search teams were unable to recover any evidence as to where Ms Croucher was.

A renewed campaign to try to find the 19-year-old with cash rewards offered for any information over the years following her disappearance. However, there was no information gathered from this push.

It wasn’t until 12 October 2022 that human remains, which were later confirmed to belong to Ms Croucher, were found in the loft of a property in Furzton. The property, on Loxbeare Drive, was located less than one mile from her home.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Two days after the remains were found, police said that officers had identified Neil Maxwell, a convicted sex offender, as the prime suspect in the case as he had access to the property at the time. However, Maxwell committed suicide in April 2019, two months after Ms Croucher’s disappearance.

Police said that they believe Maxwell killed himself while attempting to evade officers. They also believe that he may have altered his appearance after Ms Croucher’s death.

The funeral of Leah Croucher took place in Milton Keynes almost five months after her remains were discovered.