Human remains found at cemetery identified as wealthy London pensioner who went missing more than a year ago

4 November 2022, 11:33 | Updated: 4 November 2022, 14:57

Police launched a murder investigation
Police launched a murder investigation. Picture: Met Police/Google Maps

By Will Taylor

Human remains found at a churchyard in North London have been identified as a woman who went missing more than a year ago.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Norma Girolami, 70, of Highgate, went missing on August 19 2021 and a murder investigation was started.

She had travelled to Leigh-on-Sea, where she enjoyed visiting, by taking the train from Barking and returning to London later in the day.

However, all communication from Ms Girolami stopped in the evening. Her fridge in her £900,000 apartment home still had food in the fridge when she vanished.

Her body was found at St Katherine's church in Friern Barnet Lane.

Read more: Three people stabbed after 'group fight in the street' near London tube station

Her remains have been found weeks after a £20,000 reward for information was posted by police. A man had been charged with her murder and is due to go on trial next year.

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "Despite accepting that Norma was no longer alive, I know that her family are deeply affected by the news that her remains have been found. Our thoughts are very much with them.

Norma's remains were found in a churchyard
Norma's remains were found in a churchyard. Picture: Metropolitan Police

"My team has spent more than a year searching for Norma and there is a sense of relief that we have found her remains which will undergo forensic examination in due course.

"Despite this discovery, I would still be very keen to hear from anyone who knew Norma, either in London or at Leigh on Sea who can provide information on anything that was happening in her life in August last year.

"I am also appealing for anyone who saw any activity around the Churchyard in Friern Barnet Lane, N20 between August and October last year.

"Norma's family and friends have endured a year of not knowing what had happened to her and our investigation remains ongoing. If you have any information, no matter how small a detail it may seem, please do get in touch."

Reports near the time of her disappearance said detectives investigating her death believed she could have been targeted for her money by a love interest in a possible romance fraud.

Ms Girolami, who made her wealth from a property portfolio, never married, had no children and lived alone, but was active within her church and community.

Messages were sent to friends saying the fluent Italian speaker, who would visit her father’s hometown Fanna in northeast Italy, was fine and on holiday when she disappeared.

Her cousin, Jack Girolami, described her as "trusting".

When she vanished, the 67-year-old said: "We are worried sick, this is totally out of character for Norma. We thought she may have gone to Italy where the family are from to spread her dad's ashes but we don't think that is the case now.

"She was very comfortably off, wealthy but not mega rich. She sold a house in Highgate and inherited her dad's house in Enfield. She was also a bit gullible and was trusting in people which is a bit worrying."

A hairdresser at a salon Ms Girolami used to frequent said she was "no fool".

"She was very friendly but she wasn’t a pushover — not that type at all."

She would travel to Brent Cross to shop regularly and used public transport to get there.

Ms Girolami was also a member at Archway Leisure Centre.

Anyone with information about what happened to her can contact police on 101, tweet @MetCC or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

SAS doctors have accepted a pay offer from the government

SAS doctors accept new pay offer from government after months of negotiations

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friends from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friend from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast

'We would seek a better agreement' Keir Starmer tells LBC where he thinks "botched" Brexit deal can be improved

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast show

Keir Starmer defends plan to repeal law protecting veterans from prosecution due to ‘lack of support’ in NI

Exclusive
Sir Keir Starmer took questions from LBC listeners this morning with a few weeks until the nation goes to the polls

Starmer refuses to rule out council tax hike, bins plans for football levy and admits he would have served under Corbyn

Exclusive
Sir Keir emphasised the importance of single-sex spaces

Trans people will be accommodated in 'side rooms' of single-sex wards, Sir Keir Starmer tells LBC

Khandi, 14, Amelia, 9, and Malik, 7, who were reported missing just after 7pm yesterday

Three children missing after day out at Thorpe Park as police launch urgent search

Exclusive
Sir Keir Starmer skewered by LBC caller over Jeremy Corbyn

'I didn't think we would win': Keir Starmer skewered by LBC listener over supporting Jeremy Corbyn

Exclusive
Sir Keir Starmer speaks to LBC

‘No magic wand’ to recruit more teachers as Starmer insists removing ‘tax breaks’ for private schools is ‘tough choice’

Sir Keir Starmer took questions from LBC listeners this morning with a few weeks until the nation goes to the polls

'It would be foolish to write five years worth of budgets now': Starmer refuses to rule out council tax rises

Mbappe suffered a broken nose in France's opening Euro 2024 match

No surgery required for Mbappe after horror broken nose as Euro 2024 future in question for star striker

Love Island star Jack Fowler recounted the ordeal on social media

‘I couldn’t breathe’: Love Island star reveals he ‘nearly died’ after suffering allergic reaction during flight to Dubai

This is Mr Putin's first visit to North Korea since 2000

Putin to meet Kim Jong Un in first visit to North Korea in 24 years

The M25 between Gatwick and Heathrow airport will shut for an entire weekend

Exact date holidaymakers face more chaos as M25 to shut between Heathrow and Gatwick for a full weekend

Global confirms biggest ever Election coverage plans with Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer to take listeners' calls

Global confirms biggest ever Election coverage plans with Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer to take listeners' calls

Live
Sir Keir Starmer and Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar

General Election LIVE: Starmer refuses to rule out council tax rises and Scottish Labour announces its manifesto