Divers search Waterlow Park as police launch murder probe over dad missing since 2013
Police received new information five years after Robert Duff was last seen
15 May, 2018 — By William McLennan
Police divers were today searching a pond in a Highgate park after detectives launched a murder investigation into the death of a father-of-two who disappeared five years ago.
Robert Duff, who grew up in Kentish Town, has been missing since January 12, 2013.
The Met’s underwater search team trawled the pond in Waterlow Park on Tuesday morning, while forensic teams were carrying out a fingertip search of a property in Archway.
Police had previously treated the disappearance of the former William Ellis pupil as a missing persons inquiry, but it is now believed he was attacked and killed, before his body was disposed of.
Mr Duff, a former William Ellis School pupil who grew up in Kentish Town, has not been heard from since he accidentally left a voicemail message on his daughter’s phone.
The family raised the alarm the following day when Mr Duff failed to turn up for his daughter Stephanie’s 18th birthday party.
In January, Ms Duff told the New Journal that the family feared the worst and appealed to police to open a murder investigation.
Detective Chief Inspector Luke Marks, who is leading the investigation, said that in response to media appeals earlier this year a new witness came forward with “highly significant information about what happened to Robert that caused us to change the investigation from a missing persons enquiry to a murder investigation”.
Mr Duff with his daughters Stephanie and Charlotte
Two men, aged 70 and 51, were arrested yesterday on suspicion of murder. They have been released under investigation.
He said that divers had been deployed to Waterlow Park as “part of the ongoing investigation to try and locate Robert’s remains”.
He said Waterlow Park was “very close to the location where Robert was last believed to have been seen,” adding: “There is not any intelligence to this particular part of the pond, it’s just us looking at areas where we believe that Robert’s body may have been disposed of.”
Mr Duff, who was 37 when he went missing, lived in Ingestre Road in his youth, trained as a metal engineer and performed in Camden Town bars and clubs under the name DJ Flight.
He was living in Kilburn at the time of his disappearance. Police have found no trace of him since he was captured on CCTV withdrawing cash from an ATM in Holloway Road shortly before he went missing
DCI Marks said that “efforts to seek new information and evidence will not stop,” adding: “I’m appealing to the public once again, to come forward and help us further develop our enquiries. I urge anyone who saw or heard from Mr Robert Duff on 12 January 2013 to come forward and share what they know; it may seem like nothing to you, but it might be the information we need to complete the picture.”
Helen Duff, Robert’s mother, said: “Robert’s disappearance has always been forefront in our minds, and although we have always suspected that he may have come to some harm, there has always been the hope that he would return to us one day.
“Since hearing that this is now a murder investigation, that hope has been taken away from us and as a family, we are devastated. Our only wish now is that Robert is returned to us and so we can grieve together.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call the incident room on 0208 358 0200. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.