Sunday 22 April 2018

Man arrested on suspicion of murder after teenager (19) goes missing

Police have released two CCTV images of Ms Pope inside the garage buying an ice cream at around 2.55pm

Gaia Pope's mother fears she is being held against her will
Gaia Pope's mother fears she is being held against her will

Lydia Smith

Police searching for missing teenager have arrested a 49-year-old man on suspicion of murder just hours after finding women’s clothing close to cliffs in Dorset.

Tests are being carried out to determine if the clothes belong to the missing 19-year-old.

The clothing was found at 10.28am on Thursday morning by a member of the public, near a coastal path.

Senior investigating officer Neil Devoto, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Following the discovery of these items of clothing, a full and thorough search will now take place in the field and surrounding area.

Gaia was seen at St Michael's Garage on Valley Road in Swanage
Gaia was seen at St Michael's Garage on Valley Road in Swanage

“We have seized the clothing and investigations will now be carried out to identify who it belongs to.

“We have updated Gaia’s family who continue to be supported by specially trained officers.

“Our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time.

Ms Pope was staying at an address in Swanage, Dorset, when she disappeared on 7 November.

Less than an hour before her last confirmed sighting at 3.39pm, she was being driven between Langton Matravers and Swanage by a family member when they stopped off for fuel at St Michael’s Garage on Valley Road in Swanage.

Police have released two CCTV images of Ms Pope inside the garage buying an ice cream at around 2.55pm.

The last confirmed sighting of Gaia was at an address in Manor Gardens on Morrison Road in Swanage.

She was wearing grey and white woven leggings, a red checked shirt and white trainers.

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