Croydon murder accused appear in court including suspect with black eye after human remains found

A man and women accused of murdering Croydon woman Sarah Mayhew have appeared in court. Gemma Watts, 48, of Holmbury Grove, in Forestdale in Croydon, and Steven Samson, 44, of Burnell Road in Sutton, appeared at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday afternoon (April 9), both charged with murdering the 38-year-old and preventing the lawful and decent burial of her body in New Addington.

Watts, previously incorrectly named as Gemma Saundercock by the Met Police, appeared with a black eye together with Samson via a video link from Lewisham Police Station. Both spoke only to confirm their identities at the outset of the hearing. Samson is also charged with three counts of making indecent images of a child which were alleged to be ‘linked’ in nature to the other charges, prosecutor Jessica Kang told the court.

Ms Kang said: “The nature of the images does make them linked to this offending. The downloads of the phone were done at the same time.” After hearing more details on the allegations, District Judge Roy Brown said: “I will accept for the purposes of these proceedings that the matters are linked.”

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Police dogs at the scene in Rowdown Fields in Croydon
Police dogs were at the scene in Rowdown Fields in New Addington
(Image: David Nathan/UKNIP)

Judge Brown then sent the matter to be heard at the Old Bailey on Thursday (April 11), where Watts and Samson are expected to make their pleas. Both will remain in custody.

“Your cases are being sent to the Central Criminal Court for a pre trial preparation hearing on April 11. Of course the indicatable only matters go, that is murder and unlawful burial for each defendant,” explained Judge Brown. “The second either way matters will also be sent as they are linked to the indictable only charges.”

‘Condolences with Sarah’s family’

The charges come after a murder probe was launched by the Met Police after a call to police at around 9am on Tuesday, April 2, with reports of human remains found on Rowdown Fields in New Addington. A Met Police spokesperson said Sarah’s family have been told about the charges and were being supported through an ‘extremely difficult time’.

On Tuesday morning (April 9), Commander Andy Brittain, who leads policing in Croydon, said: “I would like to thank the detectives and officers across the Met whose expertise continues to enable this speedy and thorough investigation.

“The local community has also offered much support during this time, as officers carried out this vital work, and we are very appreciative of their efforts. My sincere condolences are with Sarah’s family, and we will continue to support them as the investigation progresses.”

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation who has yet to speak with police is asked to call 101, quoting reference 1656/02Apr.

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