Perton murder detective: Well-known victim led chaotic lifestyle before 'horrendous' death

A woman whose body was dumped in a layby and set on fire led a "chaotic" lifestyle and was well known around Wolverhampton, the lead detective in the case has said.

Police at the scene on Bridgnorth Road where Jomaa Jerrare, inset, was found
Police at the scene on Bridgnorth Road where Jomaa Jerrare, inset, was found

Investigators are trying to piece together the final weeks of Jomaa Jerrare's life in an attempt to find out how she came to be murdered and left in a layby near Perton.

The 52-year-old mother-of-one had not been seen by her family for six weeks. But Detective Superintendent Tom Chisholm said because of her chaotic lifestyle, which had involved substance abuse, it was not unusual for her to be out of contact for a length of time. She had not been reported missing.

He said she had "lots of friends and acquaintances" and teams were trying to establish if she had any "long-term partners". Ms Jerrare lived alone in Heath Town and had lived in and around Wolverhampton for most of her life.

Speaking to the press at the scene on Bridgnorth Road as he made an urgent appeal for information, Det Supt Chisholm said: "What we know about her so far, she led a fairly chaotic lifestyle. We believe she would have been well known in the Heath Town and Wolverhampton area.

WATCH: Detective speaks from murder scene

"Initial inquiries with the family have identified there was a lot of other people she knew who will be contacted in due course.

"We know the family hadn't seen her for a couple of weeks so what we're trying to do is create that timeline now by speaking to people who knew her or may have seen her to get in contact with us so we can start understanding where she has been over the last couple of weeks, who she's been with so we can speak to those people and understand how she's ended up here in tragic circumstances."

He continued: "She wasn't reported missing but that chaotic lifestyle she led, it wouldn't have been unusual for contact not to have been regular between them.

"This is what the appeal is all about - to understand who's seen her, certainly over the last couple of weeks because we need to piece together a picture of where she's been and who's she's been associating with."

Jomaa Jerrare's last known address was at Hampton View flats in Heath Town, Wolverhampton

Det Supt Chisholm said he was "reasonably confident" Ms Jerrare was killed elsewhere and then taken to the layby. It is not yet known how she died.

He said he could not comment on whether there were any suspects. He said it remained "early in the investigation" and officers were "pursuing various hypotheses".

A man who was arrested in Finchfield after being seen near the site of the fire has been released and eliminated from the investigation after providing an account for his movements.

Meanwhile officers were searching the high-rise flats building in Heath Town where Ms Jerrare used to live throughout Wednesday. The flats are around four miles away from where her body was found.

Det Supt Chisholm said: "She would have been brought to the scene and this is where she would have been set alight, so we feel this is a deposition site which takes me back to my appeal and that timeline.

"We need to understand how she came to be here and part of that will include speaking to members of the public. We absolutely rely on their support."

He added: "We're still trying to establish a cause of death but the fact she was bought here and set on fire is horrendous.

"Clearly somebody knows what went on, somebody will have brought some accelerant probably with them to do that. There will certainly be a vehicle involved as you can see the remoteness of the location so there is that element where we need to understand why somebody would bring her here and do that to her.

"It is a horrendous case and we're really, really keen for the public to support us."

Police at the layby.

Despite having no-one in custody, the detective said he did not believe there was anything for the public to fear.

"There is no information or intelligence that anyone else is at risk at this time. We clearly assume various hypotheses of how she came to be here. But people just need to take normal precautions when they're out and about.

"When we have these type of inquiries they tend to be very fast-paced. There was a person we had some concerns about due to his movements in this area at the time of the fire.

"He was questioned at length and we made some inquiries and we're happy to eliminate him out the inquiry."

Detective Superintendent Tom Chisholm speaks to the press

The A454 Bridgnorth Road is expected to remain closed between Wightwick and Perton for another couple of days as the investigation continues at the scene.

Det Supt Chisholm said: "There has been a full forensic examination. We have had to cut back a lot of the hedges so we can get access to those areas. We're hoping for maybe another couple of days but it's one of those things where we have to absolutely thorough and make sure we haven't missed anything.

"There are a number of ways people can contact us, through 101, and we've got an online portal for Staffordshire Police or Crimestoppers, you don't need to leave your name, any information at all, whether you've seen her or know who she is associated with, please get in contact with us.

"If anyone has any CCTV let us know and hopefully it can shed some light on how she came to be here."

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