Who is Neil Maxwell, the prime suspect in Leah Croucher murder investigation?

Neil Maxwell has been named the prime suspect in the murder of missing Leah Croucher. Credit: Thames Valley Police

The prime suspect in the murder of missing Leah Croucher has been named by police as Neil Maxwell, who killed himself in April 2019.

The 19-year-old went missing on 15 February 2019 and police have since mounted a three-year campaign to find her.

On Monday, police were called to an address in the Furzton area of Milton Keynes, less than half a mile from where Leah was last seen.

Two days later they launched a murder inquiry after finding human remains at the house, alongside items including a rucksack belonging to Leah.

Who is Neil Maxwell?

Convicted sex offender Neil Maxwell was named as the prime suspect in the murder inquiry by Thames Valley Police during Friday's press conference.

Maxwell took his own life on 20 April 2019, two months after Leah disappeared, police said.

He would have been 49 years old when Leah was reported missing.

Why is he the prime suspect?

When Leah went missing, and while the owner of 2 Loxbeare Drive was not in the UK, police say Maxwell was the only person to have keys to the address - where human remains and Leah's personal belongings have since been discovered.

Maxwell had been employed by the home owner to carry out some property maintenance at the house and he had access from November 2018.

During the missing person investigation, Thames Valley Police said there had been no direct link between Maxwell and Leah until Monday, 10 October, when they were called about the property in Loxbeare Drive.

Police said that if he were alive today, they would be seeking Maxwell's arrest in connection with the investigation.

No other suspects are being investigated by police.

Leah Croucher was 19 when she vanished on February 15 2019 Credit: Thames Valley Police/PA

What do we know about Maxwell?

Maxwell has previous convictions for sexual offences against females and was wanted in connection with a sexual assault in Newport Pagnell in November 2018.

The sexual assault was reported to Bedfordshire Police on 29 November 2018 and the case was transferred to Thames Valley Police the same day.

Officers first attempted to arrest Maxwell in connection with the sexual assault the following day, 30 November 2018, at an address in central Milton Keynes, but Maxwell was not present.

During this time, police established that Maxwell was at an unknown location in Scotland at one stage, but further arrest attempts were continually made throughout the UK at various different addresses.

Maxwell knew he was wanted in connection with the sexual assault and was travelling across the UK and making concerted efforts to evade arrest, including using false names and changing his mobile phone and vehicles.

Thames Valley police shared Maxwell’s name with other police forces on the Police National Computer in December 2018.

A public wanted appeal to find Maxwell was published on 4 April 2019, but Maxwell was found dead on 20 April 2019 having taken his own life.

Police made a total of 18 attempts to arrest him, they said.

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