UNNAMED STEPDAD strangled his 9-year-old stepdaughter in his lorry (truck), then hanged himself in the nearby woods.
9-YR-OLD GIRL STRANGLED IN LORRY BY HER STEPDAD
By Rod Chaytor 31/08/2009
A delivery driver strangled his stepdaughter aged nine in his lorry then killed himself, police said yesterday.
The child's body was found in the truck's cabin and the man, 40, was hanging in nearby woods.
Officers said he had taken his partner's daughter with him on his delivery round "for a treat" and her mother had waved them off.
The girl, thought to have brothers and sisters, had no other obvious physical injuries or signs of sexual abuse - but police said this would remain a line of inquiry.
Her body was found on Saturday afternoon in the lorry beside the A605 near Warmington, Northants.
Officers were last night checking nationally to see if the dead man was known to police.
Det Chief Insp Tricia Kirk, of the Northamptonshire force, said: "While we have not ruled out the possible involvement of a third party, the evidence strongly suggests it is unlikely that anyone else is involved in the two deaths.
"This is a tragic incident for two families and we are working closely with them."
Police went to the rural lorry park at about 2pm on Saturday after the HGV company that owns the vehicle said it had not returned to base from its overnight round of delivering groceries.
The company located the white Spar lorry, registration BV57 FMC, using a GPS system, police said.
When officers found it, the cab curtains were drawn and it was unlocked. They found the girl and tried to resuscitate her.
Searching the area, they found the man hanging by a cord from a tree. The girl and her stepdad are thought to be from the West Midlands.
Police said they began their journey about 3am on Friday and were seen in Peterborough, Cambs, that afternoon.
The mother had been in a serious relationship with the man for about a year.
The girl had been in the lorry before with him for day-out treats and her mother had no worries about her daughter being with the man, police said.
Officers believe the truck was parked late on Friday in the spot where it was found on Saturday.
They think all deliveries had been made as there were no goods inside. Det Ch Insp Kirk said: "I am keen to establish the movement of the Spar lorry, its route through the Midlands and the county and when it parked by the A605.
"Any death is distressing for police officers but when it's a child and in such violent circumstances it's even worse.
"I cannot begin to imagine what the family are going through. We have family liaison officers with them trying to answer any questions they may have.
"We believe the little girl was murdered and the man committed suicide."
It is believed the murder happened inside the cab.
Det Chief Insp Kirk added: "They girl and the man had a close relationship as stepfather and child.
"We are not aware of any family arguments. The mother said going in the lorry was a treat for the girl.
"There seemed to be no problems or concerns with the relationship so at this time it is very hard to understand why this tragic event has taken place."
Police were last night still trying to contact a "key member" of the girl's family to break the news.
A spokesman said: "Neither can be named as all family members have not been informed."