Horrified neighbours of a woman whose decapitated body was found more than 200 miles from her home have talked about their shock.
A murder inquiry has been launched after the remains of 67-year-old Mee Chong from Chaplin Road, Wembley, were found in woodlands at Salcombe, Devon, last Sunday (June 27).
She had been reported missing after been last seen alive at her Wembley home on June 10.
Police have confirmed that the woman, also known as Deborah, was found without a head.
Yesterday (July 1), detectives were seen leaving the pensioner’s semi-detached home, which neighbours say she shared with a lodger.
The police officers walked out the front door of the two-storey home along an unfinished sloped drive-way, which has rubble and building debris piled on it, in the quiet residential street.
Above the door, two religious crosses are carved into stones along with the words “Agape selfless love for all.”
A local resident, who did not want to be identified, said: “We knew her well, as you would any neighbour.
“She’s a member of a church, very religious, otherwise pleasant. I think we saw her the week she disappeared, two days before my wife saw her walking down the street – she didn’t look too good, but said she was out for some exercise.”
The man added “We were shocked to find out she was dead.
“She’s an old lady, it’s not the best time to be on your own out there with the pandemic, et cetera.”
He added that he considered her to be a “vulnerable person” due to her age and concerns with her mental wellbeing.
He said: “Finding out about the manner in which she was found is scary, not knowing whether that happened here or there or what.
“I understand the police have to keep things quiet, but to not know what happened to a neighbour is scary.”
According to the neighbour, she does not have any family in the UK and he is in contact with her sister who is in Malaysia.
He said: “She’s never gone missing before. She doesn’t go away at all. You wonder how someone who was struggling to walk managed to get down to Devon.
Beryl Creary, 87, another neighbour, said: “I knew her, her name was Mee, I didn’t know her as Deborah
“We just talked and would say ‘hello.’ It’s not like I was close to her. She was doing her pathway and then the work just stopped a couple of months ago.
“She had lived here for quite a while; it was about 20 years. I have lived here for about 40 years.
She added: “She was quite pleasant; she would call you when she was walking by and stop to talk. She wasn’t one of those selfish people.
“She didn’t look like the sort of person who would get into things. We’re living in a funny world, aren’t we? How sad.”
Shabina Akram, 42, who lives opposite, said: “It’s a horrible shock.
“I had two officers come last week and I wasn’t aware at all, to be honest. Two detectives came. It’s a big shock, it’s scary.
“We’re still settling in; we had a few neighbours say ‘hello’ as we were moving in. We’ve lived here about six months.”
The incident has so far been described as an ‘unexplained death’ and a police source has confirmed that the body was found without a head.
A spokesman said: “Enquiries remain ongoing into an unexplained death after a body was found in a wooded area near Bennett Road, Salcombe, on Sunday June 27.
“A number of enquiries will be carried out in Salcombe over the coming days, and it is likely that the local community will continue to see a high level of police activity.”