Squatters at a disused pub had been living with a corpse in a freezer for several months before it was found, The independent can reveal.
The body of Roy Bigg, who disappeared in February 2012, was found “wrapped in cling film” in the basement of the disused Simpson wine bar in Newham, London.
The bailiff was clearing out the building when they made the find on October 15 last year. As many as 20 squatters were estimated to have lived in the disused building before being thrown out by law enforcement officers following instructions from the owners in late September.
Residents had lived on the site since at least April 2021, but could have been there for significantly longer.
Enforcement officers at Ingram Associates were clearing out the building, which was full of debris and contained about 30 bicycles as they tried to move a large freezer into the basement, a senior partner at the firm said. The independent.
After struggling to move it, they opened the freezer to find a corpse inside wrapped in household film, John Ingram said. “It’s like something from a horror movie,” he added.
The contractors immediately alerted police. Pictures shared with The independent show the chest freezer in which the body was found and the dingy basement where it was located. They also show rooms full of upturned furniture, discarded rubbish and stacked liquor bins.
Metropolitan police officers working on the case have appealed for information about Mr Bigg, who is believed to be around 70 years old when he died. They have not been able to identify any of his immediate family, The independent understand.
Police said Mr Biggs’ body “may have been there for a number of years”. They were able to identify his body on the basis of dental records.
John Ingram said he started throwing squatters out with the help of six law enforcement agents and two dog handlers at 6 p.m. 10.30am on 29 September 2021. His team began searching the property after residents moved their belongings and discovered a “very large knife, approximately 18 inches long”, which was immediately brought to the police station next door.
“We did not actually go straight into the basement at first,” Mr Ingram said. “It was very dark and the steps were very dangerous. The whole place was in a real mess.”
His company was then asked to clear the rubbish-strewn building, and artisans made the shock discovery a few days later on October 15th.
“Our guys were there clearing the place and they went down to the basement and saw an old freezer down there,” Mr Ingram said. “It was a little too heavy to move, and they looked inside to see what was there, and of course there was a corpse there. It’s like something out of a horror movie.
‘The body lay in a freezer in the basement and was wrapped in household film. Needless to say, we were all completely shocked.
“I asked the senior security officer to report it to the police immediately,” Mr Ingram added.
In the time between the squats being thrown out and the body being discovered, someone broke in through the building’s skylight and moved around furniture as if they were looking for something, Mr Ingram said.
Mohammed Ali, a hotel owner working near the disused bar, said it had been worn for at least 10 years.
Newham Council records showed the owners of the bar had applied for a building permit to renovate the building three times since 2016, including submitting plans to build five apartments on the site and restore the pub. But the council refused permission each time.
Ali said: “There have been a lot of squatters and lodgers living in the property, at least 20 to 30 people, and it has been like that for years.”
He added: “There have been problems getting building permits from Newham and that’s why it’s been left so dilapidated. I’ve been here for 10 years and it’s always been that way.
‘It was worrying when the body was found because the police closed the whole area for about a week and the area is not getting better. I would say it’s getting worse. They have regenerated Stratford, but it has stopped there. The area has actually deteriorated in the last 10 to 15 years. ”
Neighbor Khodeja Zohra said that when the body was found, police spoke to local residents and asked if they had heard or seen anything suspicious happening at the run-down pub.
“Police roadblocks were up for about two weeks,” she said. “I have lived here for a year and a half. We thought it was a safe area because the police station is right next door, but now we have heard that this is happening and we are not so sure. “
Detective Chief Inspector Kelly Allen, from Met Police’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “We believe Roy’s body may have been in the freezer for a number of years.
“Talking to people who knew him will help us establish not only his lifestyle and habits, but also when he was last seen.
“If you knew Roy, please contact us – his date of birth was September 8, 1944, we think he would have been about 70 years old when he died.
“It does not matter if it was a long time since you knew him or if you only knew him briefly. Any information may be of real relevance to our inquiries. “
Anyone who knew Roy Bigg should call the event room on 020 8345 1570, call 101 or tweet @MetCC indicating CAD4332 / 15OCT21.