Some of the most horrific crimes took place in 2020, and some of the biggest ones happened in Merton. 

Here we look at some of the worst crimes that took place in the London Borough of Merton during the pandemic. 

Mother charged with murdering five-year-old daughter

A mother was charged with murdering her daughter who was found stabbed to death at a home in Mitcham earlier this summer.

Your Local Guardian:

Sutha Sivanantham, 35, was charged over the death of her daughter Sayagi Sivanantham.

The pair were both found with knife wounds at their flat in Monarch Parade, Mitcham, on the afternoon of June 30.

Their neighbour, Elsa Gonzales, 47, said she found the pair with injuries inside the flat at around 4 pm. Sayagi was taken by paramedics to hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

A post-mortem examination held at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital on July 3 found Sayagi died of stab injuries.

MORE: Neighbour describes moment she found girl dead in Mitcham

Man murdered and burned in Mitcham

Your Local Guardian:

On September 17, the body of Loeike Guei was found on Commonside East, after police were called to reports of a man on fire. 

The 23-year-old from Thorton Heath was pronounced dead after police found his body at 6.12 am on September 17. A post-mortem conducted after the Mr Guei's death gave a head injury as the preliminary cause of death.

Detectives investigating the murder of Mr Guei's made their most recent arrest on December 2, 2021. A 36-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and perverting the course of justice.

Five people have already been charged in relation to his murder and remain in custody awaiting trial.

MORE: New arrest in continuing police probe

Man charged with rape and kidnap

Your Local Guardian:

In scenes which rocked the internet, a video of a man appearing to attempt to abduct a girl was shared a million times in a bid to bring him to justice.

The man in the footage is thought to be Kadian Nelson, who has since been charged with rape and kidnap.

He is accused of attempting to abduct the girl in the North Place area of Mitcham, on November 3.

We spoke to a key witness, a mother, who told us how herself and her three daughters helped save the teenage girl.

MORE: Family speak after intervening in Mitcham abduction

Despite a number of crimes reported in the borough, there was some good news... 

Your Local Guardian:

The pandemic sparked a large community response, which formed volunteer groups Merton Mutual Aid and Dons Local Action Group. 

Merton Mutual Aid 

Volunteers set up Merton Mutual Aid to help residents with numerous tasks such as; prescription deliveries, food drop-offs, supplying care homes with radio's and assisting in PPE projects.

The group which launched on March 15, attracted thousands of volunteers and gained media attention. 

MORE: Meet the teenager behind Merton Mutual Aid

Dons Local Action Group 

Set up by AFC Wimbledon fans at the beginning of the pandemic, the community group grew rapidly and were joined by hundreds of fans and non-fans alike.

Since its launch, volunteers have delivered over 128,000 food boxes, 175 furniture and appliances and 1000 laptops and tablets across Merton, Wandsworth, and Kingston. 

Dons Local Action Group has since been named, alongside Marcus Rashford, as a winner of the Sports Journalists’ Association's (SJA) Sport for Social Change awards.

MORE: Dons Local Action Group 'honoured' to win national award

AFC Wimbledon set for emotional return to Plough Lane

Formed in 2002, AFC Wimbledon is a phoenix entity established by supports of Wimbledon FC in response to the decision to move their club to Milton Keynes.

The club's path to League One since then is near miraculous, achieving a total of six promotions, including EFL status in 2011 and a Leage Two Play-Off Final win.

But despite achieving on the pitch success, the second goal of coming home to Plough Lane had taken far longer.

It was announced that AFC Wimbledon would finally return on November 3, 2020. 

MORE: AFC Wimbledon return to Plough Lane after 29 years away