Police search Romsey home in hunt for missing teenager Gaia Pope

POLICE searching for a missing teenager have searched a house in Romsey and arrested a 49-year-old man on suspicion of murder.

Women’s clothing was found in a field near Dancing Ledge, Dorset, in the search for Gaia Pope.

The man who has been arrested lives in the Swanage area and is known to her.

A member of the public found the clothing at 10.28am yesterday in an area of open land north of the coastal path.

Meanwhile, a man who it is understood police have been looking for in connection with the enquiry, Paul Elsey, turned up this afternoon.

His father, Greg, told a national newspaper that police had obtained a warrant to search his home in Romsey during the hunt for Paul.

Speaking to the Daily Echo he said: “He is with me now. We’re seeing a solicitor, but he is fine.”

He also said police have taken the keys of his daughter Debbie to search her car, which has been in Swanage for the past week.

Mr Elsey said his son Paul had been with friends since Tuesday night.

Forensic officers have been examining a rural area close to a pathway that runs up to 200m inland from the beauty spot that is known as Dancing Ledge.

The location of find is 1.8 miles directly south of Gaia’s home in the village of Langton Matravers, Dorset.

A fleet of police vehicles and the Dorset police helicopter were scrambled to the area at about noon today. A police drone was also in use.

Senior Investigating Officer Neil Devoto, said: “Following the discovery of these items of clothing, a full and thorough search will now take place in the field and surrounding area.

“We have seized the clothing and investigations will now be carried out to identify who they belong 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.”

Walker Silvia White, 69, said: “I saw a helicopter and a police cordon and when I asked if they had found anything they said they had but couldn’t say what.”

The last confirmed sighting of Gaia was at 3.39pm on Tuesday, November 7 in the area of Morrison Road.

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

Neil Devoto added: “We are doing everything possible to try and locate Gaia.

“I would like to renew my appeal to anyone who has information about where Gaia is or what has happened to her to please contact Dorset Police.

“I am also urging anyone who has seen any suspicious activity in the area of Morrison Road and Priests Way since Tuesday 7 November to please contact us.”

On Monday search warrants were carried out at two addresses in Swanage and searches there remain ongoing.

Three vehicles have also been seized.

Diving teams were also seen searching a lake in Swanage today.

Specialist search teams were trawling the lake off Washpond Lane this lunchtime.

It comes as Gaia’s father said earlier today that the family have been left “distraught” by the 19-year-old’s disappearance.

Richard Sutherland, Gaia’s father, made an emotional appeal to find his daughter, telling ITV News: “We’ll get you back.”

He also thanked the community in Dorset for their “unbelievable” help and said: “We all love her. We want her back, we’ll get her back.

“We believe we will get her back, so that keeps us going. The help we get from the community, from every single person who’s been involved in this, gives us hope.That gives us strength.

“I can’t tell you how grateful we are to everybody out there.”

Yesterday Dorset Police released new CCTV images of Gaia at a fuel station, less than an hour before her last confirmed sighting at 3.39pm on Tuesday, November 7.

Police said the coat she was pictured wearing was found at an address in Manor Gardens, which remains cordoned off by police.

A 19-year-old man, named locally as Nathan Elsey, was arrested on suspicion of murder on Monday, along with a 71-year-old woman, named locally as Rosemary Dinch.

Ms Dinch, who is Nathan’s grandmother, was released under investigation, on Tuesday, along with Nathan.