Man arrested for murder after clothes were found in hunt for Gaia Pope

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder over the death of teenager Gaia Pope, hours after women’s clothing was discovered in a field.

Man arrested for murder after clothes were found in hunt for Gaia Pope

A spokesman for Dorset police has said the discovery is of items of women’s clothing in a field and tests will be carried out to determine if the garments belonged to the missing girl.

This afternoon they said they have taken a 49-year-old man into custody.

The discovery of the clothes was made at 10.28am today by a member of the public in an area of open land north of the coastal path.

The owner of the clothes has not yet been identified, but detectives involved in the search for missing Gaia Pope have informed her family of the discovery.

Man arrested for murder after clothes were found in hunt for Gaia Pope
Forensics teams work in a field where clothing was found earlier today (Picture: PA)
Man arrested for murder after clothes were found in hunt for Gaia Pope
They were discovered in an open piece of land by a member of the public (Picture: PA)

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.

‘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.’

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.

Gaia Pope search in Swanage, Dorset, UK
The search for missing Gaia Pope has today switched to a coastal beauty spot close to her home in Swanage (Picture: BNPS)
Man arrested for murder after clothes were found in hunt for Gaia Pope
Oofficers from Devon and Cornwall diving team searching a pond near by the house in Swanage (Picture: INS)

‘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.’

Yesterday, the teenager’s devastated mother, Natasha Pope, urged people to look in vans, garages and houses in case she was being kept against her will.

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Police released two CCTV images of the teenager taken at St Michael’s Garage in Swanage when she bought an ice cream.

She was being driven between Langton Matravers and Swanage by a family member when they stopped for fuel at around 2.55pm.

The last confirmed sighting was at an address in Manor Gardens, Morrison Road, Swanage, at about 4pm.

Man arrested for murder after clothes were found in hunt for Gaia Pope
Gaia was spotted on CCTV 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 (Picture: PA)

The black jacket she was wearing in the CCTV was recovered from an address in Manor Gardens.

Forensic investigations are continuing at two properties in Manor Gardens, believed to be the homes of a 71-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man.

They were released under investigation on Tuesday after being arrested on suspicion of murder by police the previous day.

The search to find the teenager has continued with search teams focusing their efforts inland in Swanage and the surrounding area, supported by Dorset search and rescue and specialist units from neighbouring police forces.

Man arrested for murder after clothes were found in hunt for Gaia Pope
Police put up a missing person notice for Gaia Pope in Swanage, Dorset (Picture: PA)
Man arrested for murder after clothes were found in hunt for Gaia Pope
The clothing was found by a member of the public walking through fields (Picture: BNPS)
Police find women's clothes in hunt for missing Gaia Pope
Police dogs at the scene in Manor Gardens, off Morrison Road in Swanage (Picture: PA)

Man arrested for murder after clothes were found in hunt for Gaia Pope

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