Clocks going back ‘led to Gaia Pope arrests’

The changing of the clocks led to a pensioner, her son and grandson being arrested for the murder of teenager Gaia Pope, it has been alleged.

Rosemary Dinch, 71, Paul Elsey, 49, and Nathan Elsey, 19, were held by police after Miss Pope, 19, from Swanage, Dorset, went missing on 7 November.

Mrs Dinch and her grandson Nathan were arrested six days after Miss Pope vanished, and were released under investigation the next day.

Paul Elsey was detained on 16 November and released under police investigation the following day.

On Monday, it was announced that all three had been released without further police action.

Miss Pope’s body was discovered on Saturday and police said there were no injuries to “suggest any other person was involved”.

Gaia Pope

Image: Miss Pope was seen running along a road in Swanage on CCTV before she went missing

Mrs Dinch’s daughter, Deborah Elsey, told The Sun that police had mistakenly held her son because the time clock on CCTV she handed over did not match his account of his movements.

This year, UK clocks should have been adjusted by one hour from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time on 29 October.

Ms Elsey said: “When they questioned him, the time didn’t match the time on the footage so they dragged him in for murder.

“It’s ridiculous. The time on the CCTV didn’t match because the clocks went back and the time on there didn’t change.”

Mrs Dinch told the newspaper she had found her arrest traumatic.

She said: “I was just thinking about poor Gaia.”

“I couldn’t breathe in the police station and they had to call a nurse in.”

Her son, who had told officers he knew Miss Pope, said police “got it all wrong but it was like talking to a brick wall”.

He said: “It was horrible. They said I was suspected of murder and my first thought was, ‘Oh my god, Gaia’s dead’.”

A post-mortem did not identify any injuries to suggest third-party involvement in the death, with police saying it is being treated as “unexplained”.

Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police, said the force had been expected to “fully investigate the sudden disappearance of a teenage girl”.

“I appreciate our inquiries would have caused these individuals stress and anxiety, however we have an obligation in any missing person investigation to explore every possible line of enquiry,” he said.