A woman found buried in a shallow grave in Kew had been due to meet a man for coffee the night before she was reported missing, according to a friend.

Scotland Yard launched a murder inquiry after the body of Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, 34, was discovered in her back garden in Darell Road on Wednesday evening.

Ms Garcia-Bertaux had been reported missing after she did not turn up for work at public relations company Golin on Monday.

Her friend Daniel Hughes, 27, told the Press Association he had not seen her for about a month, but had spoken to her best friend, who reported her missing.

"I think the last point the CCTV caught her was outside a Sainsbury's on Saturday evening in Richmond," he said.

"She was meant to go shopping in Oxford Street on Sunday, daytime. She was meant to meet a man for coffee on the Sunday evening.

"We're not sure when the murder took place, whether it was Saturday night or Sunday night.

"She was meant to move out of that house on Monday morning."

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Police forensics at a property on Darell Road in Kew. © PA

Mr Hughes said he found the proposed meeting before his friend's murder "a bit suspicious" and said he had been told the man was a "charismatic" vet.

"She met him in a shop or something like that and then he must have chatted to her then and they arranged a coffee on Sunday evening," he said.

"We don't know if she went out to meet him or not because we don't know what the point was when that happened."

Mr Hughes, who said he previously worked with Ms Garcia-Bertaux at the Discovery Channel, said she was single and lived alone with her two dogs.

"She's tall, got a lot of presence. Always very friendly, very talkative, would never have hurt anyone.

"Got a lot of confidence and passion, a lovely lady. She had a lot of friends as well, including me," he said.

"I'm pretty harrowed about it. I've been in that house, I've been in that garden. It's creepy, it's upset me quite a lot."

Members of Ms Garcia-Bertaux's family, who are believed to have flown into the UK from France, have been informed of developments and are being supported by specially trained officers, police said.

No-one has been arrested and a post-mortem examination is to be carried out.