A mother-of two and her father found dead in his home had not been seen for three days, police have said.
Marie Brown, 41, and her father Noel, 69, were discovered in the early hours on Monday at his house in Deptford, south east London.
Officers say that although still in early stages, they continue to piece together the final movements of the pair and are appealing for information.
Mr Brown was a regular in local bookmakers and police believe he may have been targeted after landing a big win, with his daughter being killed after attempting to stop the perpetrators.
It is rumoured that Mr Brown may have won in the region of £2,000, leading a neighbour to say: ‘[That] is a serious amount of money round here.’
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, leading the investigation, said: ‘I am asking the public to assist police by providing information relating to those coming and going from the New Butt Lane address.
‘Noel Brown had a significant routine and at this stage it appears that he was not seen after Thursday, November 30.
‘I would like to hear from anyone who either saw Noel in the week leading up to his death, or who has information concerning anyone who visited him at home.
‘Similarly, anyone who can provide information concerning the movements of Marie Brown is asked to call our incident room.
‘No matter how insignificant or small a detail it may seem, any information will assist my team in piecing together the events leading up to this tragic incident.’
Police discovered the single mother, 41, and her father at his home in Deptford at 2:45am, after receiving a tip-off from a concerned member of public and burst through the front door.
Officers forced entry and found the Mr Brown and his daughter, who lived in Peckham.
Forensics scouring the scene of the gruesome double murder were today seen handling what is believed to be a knife amid rumours the pair had their throats cut.
Earlier today, a family friend revealed how Ms Brown’s distraught daughter, who is thought to be nine-years-old and autistic, cried ‘who is going to be my mother now?’
Shocked neighbours of pensioner Mr Brown said they were woken by ‘screaming’ before he and his daughter, who worked as a creche leader in Nunhead, were found.
A friend of the family told the Evening Standard: ‘The little one said to me ‘Who is going to be my mother now?’ It’s heartbreaking.
‘We have no idea how this can have happened. They were never in any trouble, just a decent family who no one had a bad word to say about.
‘Marie was just a lovely person, they both were. The most caring people you could meet.’
One woman, who refused to be named, said: ‘There are a lot of crackheads around here.
‘I heard some petrified screaming but didn’t really think anything of it, I just closed my window and went back to sleep.
‘I was told it’s like a horror movie in there, really gruesome.
‘Noel was really nice though, very polite. He liked a gamble and a drink but he wouldn’t hurt a fly.
‘He used to hang around outside the bookies with a group of guys I haven’t seen for a while.’
It is understood CCTV footage has been removed from the local betting shops by police as inquiries continue.
Ms Brown’s best friend Lakisha Ross, who lives in the United States, believes tragic the mother was killed when she went round to check on her father who had been missing for a few days.
In a Facebook status posted overnight, which she has since taken down, she wrote: ‘I woke up with a sudden urge to contact my bestfriends in London GB today and decided to contact them all this morning! I have 3 and each one means the world to me! Although we dont speak every day…when we do there’s absolutely no change!
‘I managed to connect with all about ONE, so I sent her this msg on whatsapp! …8 hours later her daughter called to tell me she was taken from us last night after going to check in on her elderly father who had been missing for a few days. We’ve yet to know the full story but it seems her father was a robbery target and she walked in on the perpetrators! They took her life and that of her fathers! We’ve been bestfriends since the age of 6! …..speechless, devastated, numb and everything in between!
‘I refuse to tag her at this moment in order to allow my Goddaughters, her family and our friends time to grieve without social media adding to the stress!
‘Just know whenever you feel a burning feeling in your gut to do something…do it, its your angels trying to connect! It was her spirit guiding me to reach out this morning!
‘Please bear with me for a few days as i take this all in! She was a huge piece of me, snatched and taken in 1 sec! Please pray for her 2 daughters, one who is diagnosed with Autism! I keep praying for it not to be real but it is! #TheirLifeMattered #StopTheViolence’
Shocked neighbours heard screams on the night of the double murder and one saw a red car speeding away from outside the house.
One man said: ‘I told police I saw a red car speeding away outside my window, it was very unusual.
‘It literally shot off, but I didn’t hear or anything else so I couldn’t believe it when the police turned up.’
Another friend, who knew Noel from Paddy Power, said: ‘Noel liked to bet on horses, he was a really nice bloke, very quiet.’
Gary Greenwood, 50, a neighbour of Ms Brown, expressed his dismay at news of her murder.
He said: ‘She was a lovely lady, very friendly. She has been trying to do well for herself and learn how to drive to get the girls around.
‘She was always very up. She was a single mum. I used to see her when she was bringing the girls from school, but they kept themselves to themselves. Life is cheap nowadays.’
A post-mortem examination is due to be held to establish the exact cause of death.
Neighbour Collette Lavelle, 46, who has lived on the estate in Deptford for 25 years, said: ‘I heard some screaming at two in the morning.
‘There was just screaming. I shut my bedroom window and went back to bed, because you hear it so often.
‘It’s a regular thing to get up, shut your windows.
‘It’s nothing like they were messing about. It was like proper screaming. It was like a petrified scream.’
She said she could not tell if it was a man or woman’s voice, adding: ‘I am not sure.
‘It was two, three in the morning. I was ready to go back to sleep.’
The area was sealed off today with officers in blue boiler suits at the scene, and a crime scene remains in place at the address and forensic officers are at the property.
Other local residents expressed shock at the discovery and described the area as quiet.
One said: ‘I heard raised voices about 3am to 3.30am. I heard somebody trying to kicking a door in and one or two raised voices.
‘It lasted about 20 minutes. I suppose it could’ve been the police. It’s really shocking that something like this has happened.’
A woman whose home backs onto the estate said: ‘I didn’t realise something was happening.
‘It is quite a nice area. But London is London. It is unfortunate.
‘I was surprised. I always leave my windows open. It is unfortunate, but it won’t put fear in me.’
She added the homes on the estate tended to be one-bedroom council flats.
The woman, who has lived in the area for three years and declined to give a name, said: ‘At first I thought it was some filming, because Deptford is becoming upmarket.
‘It is being gentrified – it’s not a bad thing.’
Another resident, Hassan Sherket, 80, who has lived in Deptford for 35 years, said: ‘I thought it was a murder, because when I went out there everything was taped off.
‘But police didn’t say anything. I never heard anything last night.
‘It is shocking. It could happen to me. I hope they catch them.’
Matthew, 35, who would not give his surname and lives nearby, said: ‘I work from home.
‘If it was anything where there was a lot of noise or violence, I would have expected to have heard anything.
‘It is very odd – and all the more worrying. I didn’t hear anything, and I am a pretty light sleeper.
‘I was aware of it from around 8am, when I took the dog out. There were police walking up and down.’
Window cleaner David Gunstone, 44, said: ‘It’s quite a mixed area, it’s relatively calm. Deptford is a good area, I have lived here for 13 years and never had any problems.
‘Murder – you wouldn’t expect that around here. Obviously there’s some rough bits, but nothing like that.’
Detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command are investigating, but no arrests have yet been made.