Woman strangled on Norfolk Broads was a “devoted” nurse

PUBLISHED: 13:39 05 September 2012 | UPDATED: 16:17 05 September 2012

Broadsbeat and the navigation ranger at the scene on the River Bure.
Two bodies recovered on the River Bure close to Salhouse Broad on the Norfolk Broads.

Picture: James Bass

Broadsbeat and the navigation ranger at the scene on the River Bure. Two bodies recovered on the River Bure close to Salhouse Broad on the Norfolk Broads. Picture: James Bass

(C) James Bass 2012

A palliative care nurse who was strangled during a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads has been described as a “truly wonderful and well-respected” member of the team by her bosses.

The bodies of Annette Creegan, 49, from Mitcham in Surrey, and a man named locally as John Didier, who is believed to be from the USA, were recovered from the River Bure on Sunday.

They were found by police divers after Ms Creegan’s 13-year-old daughter was found alone aboard a hired pleasure cruiser, moored opposite the entrance to Salhouse Little Broad.

A Home Office post mortem examination revealed that Ms Creegan is likely to have died as a result of strangulation while the man died as a result of drowning.

Police continue to treat the deaths as a domestic incident and are not seeking anyone else in connection with it.

A statement from Trinity hospice, where Ms Creegan is understood to have worked as a palliative care nurse, has paid tribute to her devotion and dedication to her work and patients.

It said: “Annette Creegan worked at Trinity Hospice for over 13 years and was a truly wonderful and well-respected member of our home care nursing team.

“She was devoted to improving the lives of her patients and ensuring they could remain at home if they wished.

“Everyone at Trinity is devastated by this tragedy, and our thoughts are with Annette’s daughter and her family at this sad time.”

Detective Superintendent Jes Fry, heading the inquiry being carried out by the joint Norfolk and Suffolk major investigation team, has said the matter was being treated as a “domestic incident”.

He said: “All the circumstances indicate this was a domestic incident and we’re treating it as such.”

As a result he revealed a domestic homicide review (DHR) will take place in due course to ensure agencies are responding appropriately to victims of domestic violence by offering and/or putting in place suitable support mechanisms, procedures, resources and interventions with an aim to avoid future incidents of domestic homicide and violence.

The review will also assess whether agencies have sufficient procedures and protocols in place, which were understood and followed by their staff and where there may be a need to improve these procedures.

Det Supt Fry said he would not comment on speculation surrounding the girl, who was taken into protective custody on Saturday night and who is now being supported by relatives, whose welfare he insisted was of “paramount importance”.

He said: “There will be concerns from members of the public as to the welfare of this young girl and that’s our paramount concern - support for her and support for her family. That’s the most important thing at this time.

“The girl has been interviewed by specialist officers, her welfare has been our paramount concern from the outset and we continue to support her and the family.”

Det Supt Fry said they will now be sending various forensic samples for further investigation as well as interviewing people who have come forward as possible witnesses who might have been present on broads at the time to build up evidence for the inquest.

He added: “We’ve been contacted by quite a few members of the public and each of these will be followed up.”

Divers brought in by policelaunched a search after officers, alerted by the boat hire company concerned that one of its vessels had not returned, found the woman’s daughter alone on the boat moored in an isolated inlet between Wroxham Broad and Salhouse Broad.

Mystery surrounds how long the craft had been moored at the quiet inlet opposite Salhouse Little Broad where it was found.

Some river users suggested it may have been there for several days with the curtains strangely closed even during the heat of the day.

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