Child "suitcase murder" shocks Sydney

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SYDNEY, Oct 18 (Reuters) The murder of a young boy whose body was stuffed in a suitcase and thrown into a lake in a Sydney park has shocked Australia's biggest city.

Police today released photographs of the suitcase in a desperate public plea for information on the killing, described by by the New South Wales state premier as ''monstrous''.

The body was discovered last evening, when children playing in the park in southwest Sydney saw the suitcase floating in a lake.

The two boys fished the suitcase out of the water with sticks and found human remains wrapped in plastic inside.

''I think everyone on hearing about it, on getting up this morning, we all felt sicker as a result...,'' New South Wales state premier Morris Iemma told reporters today.

''The horrific discovery by a group of small children has understandably sent shockwaves through the local community.'' Police said they believe the dead boy was aged between four and eight, but were awaiting the results of an autopsy. Police said the suitcase may have been in the pond for several days.

While the investigation into the boy's identity has so far focused on local schools, police said it was possible he might have come from anywhere in Australia.

''It's a particularly horrible case, any case that involves a child is particularly tragic,'' Detective Superintendent Geoff Beresford told reporters. ''Obviously I would certainly be wary if I was a parent.'' REUTERS ARB PM1425

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