Leah Croucher: Inquest set to determine if missing Milton Keynes teenager's death was avoidable

Leah Croucher.
Credit: Family photo
Leah Croucher, who was found dead in a Milton Keynes house in October 2022. Credit: Family photo

An inquest into how missing teenager Leah Croucher died has been set for the summer - with the coroner awaiting reports before investigating whether her death could have been avoided.

The 19-year-old from Milton Keynes vanished on the morning of 15 February 2019 on her two-mile walk to work.

Her remains were found in a house nearby in October 2022, after Thames Valley Police officers and forensic experts were called by a member of the public.

The inquest into the death was opened and adjourned last January by Milton Keynes senior coroner Tom Osbourne but no cause of death was given.

Mr Osbourne held a pre-inquest review into Miss Croucher's death on Thursday at Milton Keynes' Coroner's Court which was attended by her parents Claire and John Croucher, as well as her sister Jade.

Another preliminary inquest review could be held but a two-day full inquest is due to take place on 19 and 20 June.

Afterwards, her family said: “Today went as expected, and we are happy to have a date for Leah’s inquest.

“There is a lot of information yet to be shared to us and our legal representation. We are looking forward to seeing that."

Police at the property in Loxbeare Drive, Furzton, Milton Keynes, in October 2022. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The hearing was told a serious case review should be completed by 6 February, which will be shared with the family.

The teenager was last seen on CCTV on Buzzacott Lane, Milton Keynes, just after 8am on 15 February 2019, and her parents reported her missing after their daughter did not return home from work that evening.

During investigations, the police revealed that Miss Croucher may have been seen "angry, upset and crying" by a lake on the day she disappeared.

Witnesses also reported seeing a woman matching the teenager's description on the day she disappeared and were at Furzton Lake, close to where she was last seen.

Leah Croucher was last seen on CCTV on 15 Friday 2019 while she walked to work. Credit: Thames Valley Police

In October 2019, officers and specialist divers searched a lake at the Blue Lagoon nature reserve in Bletchley after a member of the public saw a grey hooded top in the area, but nothing was found.

Detectives launched a murder investigation after finding human remains in a property in Loxbeare Drive, Furzton, in October 2022 where a rucksack and personal possessions belonging to Miss Croucher were found.

Police named Neil Maxwell, a handyman and convicted sex offender who did maintenance at the house, as the prime suspect in the murder.

Sex offender Neil Maxwell was named by police as a prime suspect in the murder investigation of Leah Croucher. He died in April 2019. Credit: Thames Valley Police

He died in April 2019 after taking his own life.

On 22 October 2022 officers confirmed the human remains belonged to Miss Croucher but a Home Office post-mortem examination proved inconclusive.

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