Grieving sister of Leah Croucher says family have 'worst nightmare' that she was murdered by convicted sex offender

1 November 2022, 01:29

Jade Croucher and her parents
Jade Croucher and her parents. Picture: Alamy
Fran Way

By Fran Way

The grieving sister of Leah Croucher has spoken about her family’s heartache as they face the ‘horror’ and ‘scariest reality’ that she was murdered by an evil man.

Jade Croucher and her family spent three years and eight months desperately searching for Leah before her remains were found in the loft of a property in Milton Keynes, just meters away from where she vanished on her walk to work in 2019.

Writing in a heartbreaking post on Facebook, the 26-year-old mother explained that the ‘agony and pain’ of searching is finally over – but the family are now dealing with the ‘worst nightmare’ – knowing that Leah was brutally taken by a callous killer.

The family laying flowers outside the house where she was found
The family laying flowers outside the house where she was found. Picture: Alamy

She wrote: “We knew something was wrong, we vowed from the very start that you did not choose to disappear. We were certain you wouldn’t put us through the worry. We knew in our hearts something terrible had happened.

“When the news broke to us that your body was found in that house of horrors on a path on your route to work, our worlds crumbled. How could anyone bring such a beautiful life to an end in such a tragic way?! How could anyone upset you let alone harm you.”

Just months after Leah vanished her brother Haydon Croucher took his own life after becoming distraught not knowing what had happened to her.

Jade explained: “Let it be known to the whole wide world that the person responsible for your murder has Haydon’s blood on their hands too.

“For now all I can take comfort in is the thought that you two are together in heaven where one day I will be reunited with you both.”

Leah Croucher vanished on her walk to work on February 15, the day after Valentine’s Day, in 2019.

CCTV footage showed her walking her normal route through the park to her office job but her worried family raised the alarms with police when she didn’t make it home that night.

Thames Valley Police launched a major investigation and visited the house her body was found in twice as part of door-to-door enquiries to over 4,000 homes in Buckinghamshire.

But nobody was home, and a police spokesperson said a leaflet was simply put through the door.

The house on Loxbeare Drive
The house on Loxbeare Drive. Picture: LBC

Earlier this month, after a tip off from what is thought to have been a construction worker at the property, investigators found her personal belongings inside the house and on October 10 confirmed that her remains had been identified.

Police released the main suspect’s identity as Neil Maxwell, a convicted sex offender who had been on the run from police when he killed himself in April 2019 – before police could catch him.

Mawell, Leah and the house
Mawell, Leah and the house. Picture: Alamy

Detectives made nearly 20 attempts to arrest Maxwell while he was wanted after an alleged sex assault in 2018.

He is pinned as the suspect as he was the only person with keys to Loxbeare Drive house at the time Leah went missing.

Jade added on Facebook: "hope you know how hard we fought to find you, how hard we searched and how we campaigned tirelessly in the hope of being reunited.

"I hope you know how loved you are by all of us, your family, your friends, the whole of Milton Keynes and in fact far beyond.

"Our Leah, your warmth, radiance and beautiful soul made such an impact on the lives of those of us lucky enough to be blessed with knowing you and loving you. I only wish we had you for longer."