A murder inquiry has been launched after a dying woman was reportedly found with one of her hands chopped off in northwest London, U.K., Sky News reported.

The 28-year-old was discovered by a passer-by, and witnesses said the victim had serious head injuries and one of her hands was removed.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died about four hours later.

Investigators believe the woman may have been targeted after a hostile split with a former partner.

When the victim was found, crowds had gathered in the street, and several people may have tried to administer first aid, Sky News reported.

British police are now preparing to question six men held at several west London police stations.

One line of inquiry is that the woman was attacked elsewhere and dumped on the pavement in northwest London.

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