Torso found in Thames could have been result of ritualistic killing, cops say in fresh appeal 9 months ago

Torso found in Thames could have been result of ritualistic killing, cops say in fresh appeal

20 years ago today the body of a boy whose head and limbs were severed was discovered in the Thames

The murder of a young boy found headless and limbless in the River Thames was on Tuesday the subject of a fresh police appeal as the "incredibly sad" cold case reached its 20-year anniversary.


At 4pm, on 21 September 2001, a passer-by spotted the remains of the boy near London's Tower Bridge.

The child is believed to have died as the result of a "ritualistic killing", with his head and limbs severed from his body which was clothed only in orange shorts. The cause of death was violent trauma to the neck area.

No one has ever been charged with his murder.


And he has never been identified, though police dubbed him 'Adam'.

Forensics revealed he was five or six years old and from Nigeria, where police suspect he was trafficked into the UK, possibly from Germany. Two men have been spoken to about this but were later released without charge.

Despite numerous high-profile appeals over the years, including by Nelson Mandela to all the African communities, the case remains unsolved. On Tuesday, police launched a fresh appeal vowing that, "this young boy has not and will not be forgotten. He deserved better and we will not give up on him."

Over the past two decades, officers have regularly reviewed the case and conducted local and international inquiries, while utilising advancing forensic technology. Comprehensive checks of UK missing people have been conducted and extensive inquires made across the UK and abroad, including South Africa, Holland, Germany, and Nigeria, to no avail.


Detectives believe that "relationships and allegiances" may have now changed and are appealing for anyone whose connection or association with anyone with knowledge of the case has ended to "be bold" and come forward.

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Kieran, a homicide detective from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “It is incredibly sad and frustrating that Adam’s murder remains unsolved."

She said homicide detectives have been working "tirelessly over the years to find out who is responsible", and in a fresh appeal for information, added: “We recognise people may not have wanted to speak up at the time and may have felt loyal to the person or people involved in this. However, over the past 20 years, allegiances and relationships may have changed and some people may now feel more comfortable talking to us. We implore them be bold and come forward if they know something so that we can finally deliver justice once and for all."

She concluded: “No matter how old or small that information may seem, it really could make all the difference. This young boy has not and will not be forgotten. He deserved better and we will not give up on him.”


While no one has even been charged over the boy's death, a woman was previously arrested on suspicion of murder. She was later bailed and released with no further charge.

Two men were also arrested in connection with trafficking, but both were later released without charge.

One was arrested and interviewed in connection with the possible trafficking of Adam into the UK and the other for suspicion of alleged trafficking offences.

Anyone with information relating this case should contact police on 101, Tweet @MetCC or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. People can submit information or video/images using this link:

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