Woman,71, and ac­tor grand­son ques­tioned in hunt for miss­ing girl

Scottish Daily Mail - - Life - By Tom Payne, Tim Lam­den and Josh White

a Grand­motHer held on sus­pi­cion of mur­der­ing a miss­ing teenager had pleaded for the girl’s safe re­turn in a tv in­ter­view only 90 min­utes be­fore her ar­rest.

rose­mary dinch, 71, and her ac­tor grand­son nathan elsey, 19, were held on sus­pi­cion of killing Gaia Pope, who went miss­ing last week.

Shortly be­fore her ar­rest on mon­day, mrs dinch wept as she told how she had given miss Pope, 19, a hug af­ter she pounded on her door beg­ging for help. She said: ‘She was just up­set. very up­set... i’m pleased be­cause i gave her a cud­dle and she re­sponded. of course i want her found. i have no idea where she is. She just seems to have dis­ap­peared.’

the grand­mother also emailed her es­tranged brother on Satur­day to say: ‘one of nathan’s friends from school has gone miss­ing. We are all wor­ried half to death.’

mrs dinch, a cook in the ma­ter­nity unit at Swan­age Hos­pi­tal in dorset, told re­porters she may have been the last per­son to see miss Pope alive.

mrs dinch and mr elsey – who ap­peared as a ex­tra in the film dunkirk – were yes­ter­day re­leased un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the equiv­a­lent of be­ing on bail. mr elsey lives with his mother debbie, 50, in a flat be­hind his grand­mother’s prop­erty.

miss Pope, who suf­fers from se­vere epilepsy and is de­scribed as vul­ner­a­ble, had been stay­ing with her aunt in Swan­age, and was last seen on cctv run­ning to­wards mrs dinch’s home on novem­ber 7. Her mother natasha is an ac­tress who ap­peared in the bill and in­spec­tor morse. She lives with Gaia’s fa­ther richard in the nearby vil­lage of lang­ton ma­travers.

de­spite the dra­matic mur­der ar­rests, dorset Po­lice last night said they re­mained hope­ful that the miss­ing teenager could be found alive and well.

yes­ter­day neigh­bours told of ‘scream­ing’ com­ing from mrs dinch’s first-floor flat around the time miss Pope was re­ported miss­ing.

Jack Goode, 25, said: ‘the neigh­bour who lives be­low told me they heard shout­ing and scream­ing on the day it hap­pened. debbie, nathan’s mum, went over and apol­o­gised to them [for] dis­turb­ing them.’

mr elsey was in the same year as miss Pope at brock­en­hurst col­lege, a fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre in the new For­est. He is study­ing for a diploma in per­form­ing arts. mr elsey’s un­cle robin tay­lor said his nephew may have learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties. the 74-year-old, from nearby Wareham, said his fam­ily were es­tranged from mrs dinch and her chil­dren and had vir­tu­ally no con­tact with them.

‘i know he’s dyslexic but i think there’s more to it than that,’ he said. ‘i didn’t know rose­mary had any kind of in­volve­ment in this. i had an email from her and she men­tioned that this girl had gone miss­ing. that’s the only email i’ve had in a long time.’

neigh­bours of mrs dinch said she had be­come reclu­sive and was al­ways ‘caus­ing trouble’.

‘my friends used to live prac­ti­cally next door but they moved out when they couldn’t take any more of her non­sense,’ one said. ‘She would cut you dead in the street, and not bother say­ing hello.’ an­other de­scribed her as ‘rude and loud-mouthed’.

de­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Kes­sell, of dorset Po­lice, said: ‘We re­main hope­ful that we’ll find Gaia alive. We have a duty to ex­plore ev­ery pos­si­ble line of in­quiry and that has led us to make two ar­rests of a 71-year-old woman and a 19year-old man.’

miss Pope was said to have been anx­ious about the im­pend­ing re­lease from prison of a man jailed two years ago for as­sault­ing her. two days be­fore her dis­ap­pear­ance, she posted a mes­sage on in­sta­gram that said she was wor­ried about be­ing ‘shut up and put in a cell’.

last night her fam­ily said: ‘We are aware of the ar­rests that have taken place but want to em­pha­sise that the search for Gaia con­tin­ues. the mas­sive ef­fort to find Gaia has been a great com­fort in what every­one will un­der­stand is a deeply wor­ry­ing and scary ex­pe­ri­ence for all who love Gaia.’

‘Shout­ing and scream­ing’

Ar­rested: Nathan Elsey Miss­ing: Gaia Pope

Ar­rested: Rose­mary Dinch

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