An engineer was gagged, bound and murdered just months after he called in anti-drugs officers to investigate tenants in his family home, police said tonight.
Keith Webb, a 57-year-old described as a man of good character, had also evicted a group of men from the south London house after they aroused his suspicions.
The single man was found by his family in a room of the house in Streatham, after apparently suffering for some time at the hands of his killers.
A post-mortem examination failed to find the cause of death but concluded that Mr Webb, of Streatham, south London, "died as result of maltreatment at the hands of suspect or suspects", Scotland Yard said.
Detective Chief Inspector Brian Haynes, of the Earlsfied Serious Crime Group, said: "It is important to stress that Keith was a man of good character, who worked at a local engineering company.
"Keith’s family, together with officers from Lambeth, recently initiated eviction procedures against other people in the house and a drugs search warrant was also executed there on 4th October 2002.
"The other occupants then left the house. The family had approached police for assistance with problems which had arisen in the house, which a joint approach by police and family helped Keith resolve."
But he added: "It is too early to say if that previous incident is linked in any way to this murder."
Mr Webb, who had no children, died at the family home which was bought by his late mother and father, who were first generation immigrants.