Body found in river was student who went missing on Christmas Eve

Last updated at 13:46 23 January 2008

The body of a 17-year-old boy who went missing on Christmas Eve has been found in the River Thames, police said today.

Joshua Beasley was last seen in the Greenwich town centre area of south east London between 5pm and 6pm on December 24. His parents reported his disappearance on Christmas Day.

On Monday, a bargeman reported he had seen a body in the river near River Road, Barking, east London, just one mile from the Thames Barrier, Scotland Yard said.

Assistant Detective Chief Inspector Clive Heys, from the Homicide and Specialist Crime Command said: "From the general description and clothing worn at the time the body was retrieved, together with dental examinations conducted during the post-mortem, I am satisfied this is Joshua Beasley. However, we await confirmation of this through DNA testing."

A post-mortem carried out yesterday at Greenwich Mortuary gave the cause of death as drowning.

Mr Heys said police were keeping an open mind, as there were no obvious signs that Joshua had been the victim of foul play, but they did not yet know how he came to be in the river.

Joshua was a keen student who had planned to study Drama and English at university. His mother, Ruth Harrison, from Lee, south London, said: "Joshua's dad, Paul, and I have been so grateful for all the support we have received.

"We thank everyone for their help - our families, our friends and Joshua's friends - in trying to locate Joshua. We are still desperate to find out how he came to go into the river."

Mr Heys added: "Our thoughts at this time are very much with Joshua's family and friends. They have all done everything it was possible to do in assisting us with the search for Joshua. In this sad time, we know they will be comforted by that."

Anyone who saw Joshua near the river is asked to call the incident room on 020 8721 4868, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.