A devastated son has described the 'horrible' moment he learned of his biological mother's murder after he looked her up online.
Reece Maddick and his twin brother were adopted by Alan and Carol Maddick when they were two or three years old, but were allowed to remain in contact with their birth mother, Linda McArity, and saw her about once a year.
The now-30-year-old Reece decided to stop seeing his mother when he was about 15 or 16 because he discovered she was taking drugs and keeping bad company, but he continued to remain in contact with her throughout his life.
Reece, now a dad-of-one, became concerned when his mother didn't call him for the third Christmas in a row, and in January 2021 he decided to Google her name in the hope of contacting her on social media.
He was shocked when the search returned court reports detailing the murder of a Linda McArity of the same age, with three children. As well as his twin brother, Reece has a half-brother who had been rehomed elsewhere.
Linda was found dead after being strangled by acquaintance Ian Kerr, who admitted he was high on Spice at the time.
Recalling the moment he saw the reports, Reece said: "I found out on Google. I said, 'I feel like something horrible has happened,' but I had no idea. I was alone, it was 2am on a Monday night. I Googled her name and the article came up.
"I believed it was my mum but wasn't sure - there was some hope that it could not be her because I would have been contacted. It was horrible - I kept bursting into tears. I didn't sleep at all that first night."
Reece struggled to believe the news as the photo released by police was old and fuzzy, and he was sure officers would have contacted him if she had been murdered.
He called police to help clear up the matter and was told to go to Leeds District Police HQ the next day, where he claimed officers were rude and dismissive towards him.
Police are alleged to have asked questions such as "How do you know she hasn't won the Lottery and run away?" and "Why have you taken so long to ask about this?", and it wasn't until four days after he first read the reports that police called to confirm his mum had been murdered.
Reece claimed the officer acted insensitively by discussing graphic details about the case over the phone, though the Met alleged he asked for this information.
A statement from the Met said: "In 2019, officers carried out a thorough investigation into Linda's death which resulted in a man being sentenced to jail for a minimum of 18 years... At the time of Linda's death, officers from the Met, including a specialist family liaison officer, were in close contact with one of her siblings. No information was provided to officers in relation to any children that Linda had.
"The Met were notified that one of Linda's children had contacted another police force and asked for details around his mother's death. A Met detective spoke to him on the phone the same day and answered questions around how Linda had died and the criminal proceedings that had taken place, as requested. No complaint has been received."
In the days between reading the reports about his mother and having her death confirmed by police, Reece tracked down his aunt Donna on ancestry.co.uk and contacted her son on Facebook.
The relatives claimed they tried to find Reece to tell him about his mother, and Donna gave the son a stack of old photos, many of which featured Reece and his brothers, which had been stuck to the walls of Linda's flat.