Murder investigation after electrocuted body found in Penge

Victim: James Smith's electrocuted body was found trackside at Penge West on December 4

Victim: James Smith's electrocuted body was found trackside at Penge West on December 4


A murder investigation is underway after an electrocuted body was found by train tracks.

The victim, named as James Smith from Catford, was discovered at Penge West station on December 4.

Police and ambulance attended the incident, reported at 5.32am, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers are investigating the possibility Mr Smith was stealing cable and are trying to establish whether he was killed when cutting the wire or by a live rail.

They arrested and bailed a 23-year-old man from Brockley on suspicion of murder and for conspiracy to dispose of criminal property. It is believed this man made the call informing them of the secluded location where Mr Smith was lying.

Officers have also arrested four other people including a 19-year-old man on suspicion of manslaughter, conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to conceal criminal property and for possession of a controlled substance; a 21-year-old man on suspicion of manslaughter and for conspiracy to steal; a 47-year-old man on suspicion of manslaughter, conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

A 47-year-old woman was arrested and bailed for conspiracy to steal.

Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen people around the train station to contact them.

Detective Chief Inspector Alison Palmer, investigating officer for British Transport Police, said: “Post-mortem results suggest James’ injuries were consistent with electrocution and his family have been informed.

“We are currently keeping an open mind as to why James was in the area at the time of the incident and are keen to hear from anyone that can help us piece together the events leading up to and after his death.

“Our enquiries in the local area are continuing and an investigation to establish the exact circumstances is ongoing. If you think you have any information about the incident, no matter how insignificant it may seem, we want to hear from you.

“This was a tragic incident that has seen a man lose his life and which sadly highlights the dangers of going trackside. Our thoughts remain with James’ family at this very difficult time for them.”

All the arrested were bailed to dates in January pending further investigation.

Anyone with information can contact British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 quoting incident reference 72 of 04/12/10 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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