POLICE are being investigated for their handling of a probe into a missing woman whose remains were found in Scotland five months after she disappeared.
The death of Saima Ahmed remains unexplained after her body was discovered in the grounds of a mansion in the outskirts of Edinburgh in January.
The 36-year-old was reported missing from her home in Wembley, north London, in August and her family believes she may have been murdered.
Police Scotland is probing her death but the initial missing person inquiry was dealt with by the Metropolitan Police, which is now being investigated for its handling of the case.
The Met Police Directorate of Professional Standards has referred the force’s handling of the inquiry to police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), along with a complaint from Ms Ahmed’s family.
Ms Ahmed, a librarian who lived with her parents and brother, was last seen on August 30 on CCTV boarding a train at Wembley Central station instead of going to work.
Detectives believe she took further trains to Edinburgh, likely via Hemel Hempstead and Birmingham, although her exact route is not known.
Her remains were found at Gogar Mount House on January 9, 400 miles from her home.
Ms Ahmed’s sister Saiqa, 37, claimed Met officers initially failed to take the case seriously despite the disappearance being “totally out of character”.
She told The Times: “They classed it as low-risk - for someone who has never left home, who has never spent a night out of the house. She wouldn’t go anywhere without telling our parents.”
She claimed her brothers made a timeline of Ms Ahmed’s actions, requesting CCTV after police “refused”, and claimed officers took her sister’s laptop and camera but “didn’t even check it until they found her body”.
Her siblings said there is nothing to suggest she took her own life and believe the divorcee could have met up with “the wrong person”.
An IPCC spokesman said: “The IPCC is conducting an independent investigation into the Metropolitan Police’s response to the missing person report of Saima Ahmed. It will look at the risk assessment applied, whether appropriate inquiries were made and how Saima’s family were dealt with.”
A Met spokesman said the force could not comment on an ongoing independent investigation.
Police Scotland said earlier this month it had received only a small number of calls following an appeal for information.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin MacLean said: “Saima’s death remains unexplained as we continue to carry out various lines of inquiry.
“We’re committed to doing everything possible to establish the circumstances surrounding her death and I thank the people who have come forward thus far.”