Police have launched a murder investigation after two sisters were found dead following a birthday party in a north west London park.
Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, were discovered on Sunday lunchtime at Fryent Country Park in Wembley, north west London.
Police believe the sisters had been part of a group of 10 people who congregated in the park from around 7pm on Friday, June 5 to celebrate Bibaa’s birthday.
Gradually, people left throughout the evening until only Nicole and Bibaa remained.
They were then both reported as missing to police late on Saturday before they were discovered on Sunday.
Nicole, a Westminster university graduate, and mother-of-one social worker Bibaa were declared dead at the scene at 1.08pm.
A police statement today said: ‘Detectives from the Specialist Crime Command (Homicide) are investigating, with the assistance of officers from the North West Command Unit.
‘The deaths are being treated as suspicious and a murder investigation has begun.’
The two women found dead in a north west London park have been revealed as half sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, (left) and Nicole Smallman, 27 (right). A murder investigation has now been launched
Police officers guard forensics tents at Fryent Country Park near Wembley, north London this afternoon
Police believe the sisters had been part of a group of 10 people who congregated in the park from around 7pm on Friday, June 5 to celebrate Bibaa’s birthday. Pictured today: An aerial showing police guarding the forensics tents in Fryent Country Park
Bibaa was in ‘high spirits’ and on the way to her birthday picnic when she was last seen on Friday, according to shocked neighbours.
Senior investigating officer DCI Simon Harding said: ‘We are in the very early stages of the investigation and are working hard to find out what led to these two women losing their lives.
‘Their families have been devastated by their loss and they need answers. They have asked that their privacy is respected at this time as they come to terms with this horrific incident.
‘I need to hear from anyone who was in Fryent Country Park on the evening of Friday, 5 June, or early into Saturday, 6 June. The area the group were situated in is around a five minute walk from the Valley Drive entrance of the park, leading to a hill area.
‘The area the group were in would be a well-known spot to sit and look over London. If you were in that area of the park from the evening of 5 June through to Sunday lunchtime, noticed the group, or saw anything else suspicions, please contact us immediately.
‘You may have stumbled upon items of property, but not realised the significance of them. If you did, you may well have information that could assist us hugely. No matter how insignificant it may seem, please contact us via the incident room on 0208 721 4205, or via 101.’
Nicole, a Westminster university graduate, and mother-of-one social worker Bibaa were declared dead at the scene at 1.08pm. They had visited the park with friends on Friday for Bibaa’s birthday party. They were not seen alive again
Police were called to Fryent country park in Wembley after reports two women had been found unresponsive. The sisters were declared dead at the scene
North West Borough Commander Roy Smith, said: ‘This is an awful incident and our thoughts are with the victims and their family.
‘We are working closely with the investigation team to ensure we get answers to what has happened. Local officers will be conducting reassurance patrols and will be happy to speak to any concerned residents.’
Neighbours told how police smashed down the door to Beeba’s Wembley apartment yesterday while officers stood guard at the door today.
Mavis Osei-Frimpong, 52, who lives opposite Beeba’s flat, said: ‘I was at home cooking on Sunday when the police arrived at around 2pm and asked if I knew where Beeba was.
‘Then they broke the door down to her flat. She lives opposite me. They shouted, but nobody answered. I think they wanted to see if somebody was inside.’
Madic added: ‘She seemed a lovely person. I never had any problems with her. I know she was working from home.
Two women were found dead in a park in Wembley, north west London on Sunday. Pictured: police at the scene yesterday afternoon
A forensics team next to tents at Fryent Country Park in Wembley. Two women were found dead yesterday afternoon
‘My daughter last saw her on Friday when Beeba said it was her birthday and she was going out to celebrate. She seemed happy as it was her birthday.
‘When my neighbour said something had happened to Beeba, we were both crying. I was shocked.
‘I thought why did she go out for her birthday and never come back?
‘She had one daughter who is in her early twenties, but she lived elsewhere.. I never really saw her sister Nicole.’
Another neighbour, Jacqui McKenzie, said she used to check in on Beeba during the lockdown.
She said Beeba told her she was coping fine and had just taken up cycling.
Jacqui said: ‘I was quite shocked as she seems level headed and sensible, and somebody who knows what is going on.
‘It’s inexplicable and it’s out of character for her not to be here.
‘I began speaking to her more recently to check how she was coping in the lockdown.
‘She said she was okay and that she’d started cycling, and then I saw her out twice.’
She added: ‘It’s just weird.
‘I think they had just gone for a picnic and there were a few people there.
‘She is quiet, but she is usually in good spirits. Most of the time she keeps herself to herself.
‘We had normal neighbourly conversations like how it is shopping in lockdown.
‘I hadn’t seen any visitors to her place in years.
‘She didn’t seem mentally vulnerable. She was a strong, clued up person from the conversations I had with her.
‘I think her daughter is 22 or 23, but she lives elsewhere.
This locator map shows where the park is situated in northwest London, near Wembley and Brent
‘Beeba has been here for 20-odd years and she’s never had lots of visitors or any trouble I know of.
‘The last conversation we had we talked about cycling and what is going on in the world. We were stood out in the car park two weeks ago.
‘I hadn’t seen her and somebody said it was her birthday and she was having a picnic.’
Neighbour Luisa Pimentel said: ‘It’s very sad what has happened.
‘I didn’t know anything until the police came here on Sunday and broke down the door.
‘I used to see her come and go and we would say ‘hi’ to one another. She lived alone.
‘There was never any noise or any trouble.’
Police were seen leaving the crime scene inside the park carrying cardboard boxes this afternoon.
A truck and several vans drove onto the field which remains closed and surrounded by police tape.
Horrified residents living next to the park told of their shock today.
They said they saw police running into Fryent Country Park on Sunday lunchtime after the bodies of the two women were discovered there.
Today, a bouquet of pink and white roses were left with a handwritten note behind the police cordon.
One entrance to the park in Wembley was cordoned off as officers were present in the area yesterday afternoon
The flowers appear to be addressed to a ‘Nicole’ and ‘Beeba’ whose names are written within hand-drawn hearts.
The message, signed by ‘Jack’ with a kiss, reads ‘you were an amazing person’ and ‘so funny.’
It adds: ‘You will be sadly missed.’
Two officers were guarding the cordon at the entrance to the park and police vans continued to come and go throughout this morning.
Neighbours living on the affluent leafy street that leads to the park told of their shock and sadness.
Scherzade Khilji, 61, who leaves near the entrance to the park, said: ‘This is very serious.
‘The police are still there now and the park is closed for the time being. It is very sad.
‘I have lived here for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this. The police have not said their names or anything.’
Officers said post-mortems will be carried out to establish the cause of death. Pictured are tents in the park yesterday
A police officer places flowers left by a friend inside the cordon at Fryent Country Park in north London
Local resident Charlotte Opoku-Addo was shocked by the grisly find so close to her home.
The 74-year-old said: ‘We find it strange that it should happen so close to us.
‘We find it really strange that something was going on, that the people were actually dead and for it to be two women.
‘There were lots of police cars. There were two vans, about six police cars and an ambulance.
‘We do not know what happened and why it should be so close to this place. I have no idea because it is a park that is really used. People come from outside the area too.
‘We are over 70 so we are under lockdown and our children bring us food so we don’t go out much but it is very used.’
Police and fire engines attend the scene at Fryent Country Park in Wembley. Two women were found unresponsive and were pronounced dead at the scene
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, added: ‘I was at home yesterday and I just saw lots of police running into the park at around 1.15pm.’
Police confirmed two women were pronounced dead at the scene.
They said relatives have been informed, but the women’s names have not been released.
Met Police said: ‘Enquiries into the circumstances of the incident continue.’
A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: ‘We were called at 1.25pm today (7 June) to reports of an incident at Fryent Country Park in Kingsbury.
‘We sent an ambulance crew, an advanced paramedic practitioner and an incident response officer, with our first medic arriving in less than six minutes.
‘Sadly, two people were found dead at the scene.’