Police Quiz Beachgoers Over Deaths

9 July 2010, 10:18 | Updated: 9 July 2010, 10:26

Police will today question beachgoers in an effort to shed light on the deaths of a four-year-old girl and her mother.

The body of Keira Madden was found in a bedroom at around the same time her mother, Catherine Madden, 40, threw herself from a clifftop 50 miles away at the weekend. Police later revealed that a note apparently written by Mrs Madden, known as
Cathy, was found next to Keira's body claiming she had drowned after slipping in the sea the previous day.

A post-mortem examination on Keira's body has proved inconclusive and police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to establish her cause of death. Meanwhile, a post-mortem on Mrs Madden confirmed she died from multiple injuries consistent with a fall. Today, officers will visit four beaches at Felpham, Climping, Witterings and Pagham from 11am to 4pm asking people if they recognise the mother and daughter from the previous week.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Sloan, from Sussex Police's major crime branch, said: "It's important that we do everything we can to try and find members of the public who may have seen Cathy and Keira at the beach the day before they died. "We're trying to build up a picture of what happened and need anyone who thinks they saw them to come forward and talk to us."

Police will also continue their appeal for information about Mrs Madden's car, a green Renault Megane, which she drove to Birling Gap, near Eastbourne, East Sussex, last Saturday afternoon. Tomorrow, exactly a week on from the tragedy, officers will visit the seaside spot where she left her car in a bid to trace anyone who may have seen her. It was at Birling Gap that chaplains tried to coax Mrs Madden away from the cliff-top but she fell to her death. At around the same time, police linked her car, which had been abandoned nearby, to her home in Roundle Avenue, Felpham, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, where they found the body of Keira.

Keira's maternal grandparents, Jo and Peter Oates, said the pair adored each other and that "nothing came between that love". They added: "Cathy and Keira are now together for all time and nothing can separate them." Mrs Madden had been going through a divorce from her daughter's father, Steve Madden, a self-employed computer expert who lives and works in Germany. He would come back to the UK every three weeks for access visits to see Keira.

In a statement released through police earlier this week, he paid tribute to his daughter, describing her as his "princess". Neighbour, Steve Hill, said the couple had been involved in a domestic argument at the house about two months ago, with clothes thrown onto the street. Police said only the mother and daughter lived at the house and that no-one else was being sought in connection with the deaths.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 0845 6070 999, quoting Operation Launton, or email the inquiry team on mcb.intelligence@sussex.pnn.police.uk