An 18-year-old man has been arrested in south London on suspicion of the murders of sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman in Wembley on 6 June, the Metropolitan Police said.
The man was arrested at an address in south London on suspicion of both murders and remains in custody.
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The sisters were stabbed to death at Fryent Park, off Slough Lane. They had been in the park with a group of friends from 7pm to celebrate Bibaa’s 46th birthday, and were the only two remaining from the group by 12.30am the following morning. Police believe the murder happened in the next few hours after this.
Detective chief inspector Simon Harding, leading the investigation, said: “Given the significance of this development, we visited the family in person today to inform them of the arrest. Our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time.
“A team of forensic officers have been a constant presence at the park over the last few weeks carrying out meticulous fingertip searches at what is a vast and complex crime scene.
“Whilst that work has now concluded, smaller searches in outer areas of the park will continue.”
Police and the London Ambulance Service were called to the park on 7 June to a report of two women found unresponsive. The sisters were pronounced dead at the scene and a post-mortem examination gave the cause of death for both as stab wounds.
Photos of Nicole, 27, and Bibaa in what is believed to be their last hours were published in an appeal for more information, showing them in “good spirits” as they played with fairy lights and took selfies.
Last week, two police officers were arrested on suspicion of misconduct for allegedly sharing “inappropriate” photographs of the murder scene and were suspended from duty.
Met commander Paul Brogden said he was “horrified and disgusted” by the allegations and the actions of the officers were “morally reprehensible” if true.
The mother of Nicole and Bibaa voiced her frustrations about the force’s initial response when the two sisters were first reported missing and told the BBC the family carried out the search themselves.
“I knew instantly why they didn’t care,” said Mina Smallman, who is the first female archdeacon of black and minority ethnic descent in the Church of England. “They didn’t care because they looked at my daughter’s address and thought they knew who she was. A black woman who lives on a council estate.”
She said her grief was “taken to another place” after the arrests of the two officers, who she said ‘“dehumanised” her children. “They were nothing to them, and what’s worse, they sent them on to members of the public.”