Pictured: Gaia Pope was last seen on Tuesday, November 7 in Swanage
The father of a third suspect arrested on suspicion of murdering Gaia Pope has tonight insisted his son is innocent, hours after police discovered a pile of clothes feared to belong to the missing teenager.
Greg Elsey confirmed to MailOnline that his son Paul was taken into custody last night after he attended Poole Police station accompanied by a solicitor.
Speaking outside his home, the 69 year old said: ‘My son is 110 per cent innocent. You would not believe what has gone one on. You will be gobsmacked as how the police have performed. Absolutely disgusting.’
Officers cordoned off an isolated area close to 70ft Dorset cliffs and a quarry on Thursday after a walker found a pile of clothes – but no body has been found.
Student Gaia Pope, 19, was last seen in Swanage nine days ago with Mr Elsey’s ex-wife Rosemary Dinch who is believed to be the last person to see her.
Both Ms Dinch and her 19-year-old grandson Nathan Elsey were arrested on suspicion of murder but later released on Tuesday.
Tonight Mr Elsey has protested his son’s innocence and said the public would be ‘gobsmacked’ by how the police have behaved.
Mr Elsey said he met with Paul at a friend’s house in Southampton and later met with a solicitor before driving to Poole police station.
Mr Elsey said: ‘You will be disgusted when you find out what has happened.’
Elsey, who is single, is being held in custody. His father said at the time of his arrest he was unaware that items of clothing had been found close to the cliff edge in Swanage.
Mr Elsey had maintained that his son had a cast iron alibi at the time Pope went missing after calling at his ex-wife’s home in a distressed state.
He said his son offered then his mobile phone and bankcard to prove that he was in Weymouth working around the time the teen went missing.
Asked if police did not believe his son’s alibi, he said: ‘Why did they not accept his offer of his iPhone a week ago to prove where he was?’
‘He is innocent!’ Greg Elsey, pictured right, claimed his 49-year-old son Paul who has been arrested on suspicion of murdering Gaia Pope has an alibi. Above, Mr Elsey addresses the press outside his home on Thursday afternoon
Investigation: Forensic officers, left and right, appeared to have found at least six items of evidence during searches on Thursday including the recovering of clothes believed to belong to Gaia
Investigation: Search teams on Thursday combing a field for clues after 19-year-old Gaia went missing nine days ago
Gaia’s immediate family has not responded to the arrest of Mr Elsey but friends who operate the Facebook page coordinating volunteer searches made a statement.
An admin of the Find Gaia group wrote: ‘We are aware of the news released earlier by the police but wish to reiterate that there has been no confirmation yet or who the clothes belong to and nothing else has yet been found.
‘We are so grateful for all of the time people have given to bringing Gaia home. Searches will continue tonight.’
Paul, a carpenter, was missing for 48 hours after leaving the Elsey family home in Romsey, Hampshire on Tuesday.
His VW Golf car was taken away for forensic examination and the home he shared with his parents also subject to a search warrant.
Ms Dinch and Nathan are reportedly staying at a friends’ as their bungalow in Swanage is a crime scene as police continue to search the property where Gaia was last seen.
Mr Elsey added he was devastated for the Pope family following the he discovery of clothing.
Defiant: Paul’s father Greg Elsey told MailOnline his son was innocent and said he believed police were unfairly targeting his family. Above, Nathan Elsey, 19, pictured left with grandfather Greg, right on Thursday
Pictured: The clothes discovery was made by a member of the public in an area of open land close to a pathway that runs up to 200m inland from the 70ft cliffs and around a mile from where she was last seen in Swanage
Dorset Police have taped off a field along a perilous stretch of coast known as ‘Dancing Ledge’ around a mile from her family home in Langton Matravers, a village just outside Swanage
Distraught: The father of the missing teenager, Richard Sutherland, broke down during an interview to ITV News and said his family has been left ‘distraught’ by Gaia’s disappearance
Dorset Police have taped off a field along a perilous stretch of coast known as ‘Dancing Ledge’ around a mile from her family home in Langton Matravers, a village just outside Swanage.
The clothes were discovered at 10.28am on an area of open land north of the coastal path. The owner of the clothes has not been identified but Miss Pope’s family have been informed, Dorset Police said.
Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset police, said this afternoon: ‘We have arrested a 49-year-old man on suspicion of murder. He is believed to be known to Gaia and from the Swanage area.
‘On Thursday a member of the public identified clothing south of Priestly Road in Swanage similar to that worn by Gaia.’
Forensics officers were seen photographing and bagging up clothes feared to be Gaia’s. She was last seen wearing grey and white woven leggings, white trainers and a red checked shirt with white buttons when she vanished.
Teams have also been scouring woodland and dredging ponds in a desperate bid to find her after she disappeared on Tuesday November 7.
The discovery of fresh evidence came hours after her father Richard broke down in tears on national television as he said his family were ‘distraught’ but remain hopeful they will find her alive.
Mrs Dinch, 71, was arrested hours after she was interviewed on local TV where she described how Gaia ‘pounded’ on her door, saying ‘help me, help me’
Pictured: Grey Elsey’s home in Romsey, Hampshire, where Rosemary Dinch and their grandson Nathan have been staying as their home in Swanage is under investigation
The business development manager described how his daughter was recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder following a incident where she was assaulted two years ago.
He told ITV News: ‘Gaia, you know we love you, you know that. I just want that big hug please, I just want a big hug. We’ll get you back and we’ll have that big hug.’
The 19-year-old, who was staying with an aunt at an address in Swanage when she disappeared, has not been seen since the afternoon of November 7 when she was seen running down the road in a distressed state.
Dorset Police on Wednesday released CCTV of Gaia buying an ice cream at a petrol station between Langton Matravers and Swanage at around 2.55pm on November 7 – an hour before she was last seen alive in Manor Gardens where she ‘pounded’ on Rosemary Dinch’s front door.
The clothes discovery was made on Thursday by a member of the public in an area of open land close to a pathway that runs up to 200m inland from the 70ft cliffs.
Police said on Thursday the items, feared to belong to Gaia, were found about 200 metres inland from the high cliffs between Dancing Ledge and Anvil Point south of Swanage.
Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset police, pictured on Thursday, said officers had no reason to believe Gaia left Swanage
Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell said: ‘My thoughts are with the family who are going through an incredibly distressing time.
‘Clearly the family are deeply concerned and they are living through an experience which we would all find extremely challenging. We will continue to support them, we will not stop until we find Gaia.
‘We would like to thank the public of Swanage and the local community who have been incredibly supportive and understanding of the police investigation into her disappearance and for their efforts to try and find Gaia.
‘It’s our responsibility to investigate every avenue of inquiry and to investigate if she has come to harm through an act of crime.
‘There are a number of searches ongoing and these will continue for some time.
‘We have got no reason to believe Gaia has left the Swanage area.
‘We have not located Gaia and we will continue to conduct extensive searches of the area over the next few days.
‘I would continue to ask the public if they have seen anything suspicious or had any contact with Gaia since she has gone missing to contact Dorset police.’
Asked why the suspect has been arrested on suspicion of murder, Detective Superintendent Kessell said: ‘As you would expect, we have been conducting this inquiry for two weeks and it is our responsibility to investigate every avenue of inquiry that’s open to us.
‘In doing that, we continue to investigate whether Gaia has come to harm through an act of crime or whether she is missing and we will continue to do so.’
He appealed directly to the public to come forward if they have any information or have had any contact with Gaia since she went missing.
A large number of police vehicles including some containing specialist search equipment arrived to search fields near the southfacing cliffs on Thursday
Swanage on the south coat is surrounded by high cliffs and focus of the hunt for Gaia is now focussed on a short stretch due south of her parents’ home
A map shows the timeline of events we know about so far before Gaia Pope disappeared, and the properties that have been searched in the hunt for her. She was spotted at a petrol station near Swanage at 2.55pm buying an ice cream, having been driven there by a member of her family. She was then seen on CCTV sprinting along Morrison Road in Swanage, last spotted banging on Rosemary Dinch’s door in Manor Gardens
GAIA’S FATHER SAYS HE IS ‘HOPEFUL’
Gaia Pope’s father, Richard Sutherland, spoke to ITV News on Thursday about his daughter’s disappearance and the family’s hope to find her alive.
He said: ‘I’m doing my best not to speculate because there are just so many different scenarios that you can tie yourself in knots thinking about that. It’s not so much what’s happened to her as finding her, regardless of the circumstances, finding her alive is what we want to do.’
He said of her epilepsy: ‘It’s so severe that the doctor’s letter says she’s now at risk of sudden death from epilepsy so it’s no minor thing for sure. She’s at risk.’
He added: ‘Gaia was very upset. She suffered a trauma a couple of years ago. She was involved in a situation where some guys assaulted her. This had a really devastating effect on her. I think this had been coming back into her head. She was scared. I think her head…with the epilepsy which messes with her head anyway, she gets confused, she has memory loss. A combination of different things…she’s just had [gets emotional].
‘I think there was some Facebook interaction which may have triggered back memories of the previous issue but now is not the time to go into those details. But she is obviously very distressed, very vulnerable. We’ve just got to get her back.’
‘We love her. We all love her. We want her back. We will get her back. She’s vulnerable but she’s also strong. She’s a great girl. She’s got a big spirit and I think of that. She’s a feisty character, a real feisty character but she cares deeply about people.
‘She wanted to be a nurse or a midwife or a social care person. She recognises other people suffering. She’s a real deep down decent person who has had some really tough times.’
Her distraught mother, Natasha Pope, on Wednesday posted on Facebook her fears that Gaia had been kidnapped and was being held against her will in the ‘back of a van, garage or somewhere’.
Since Rosemary Dinch and her aspiring actor grandson were released from custody on Tuesday, they have been staying at her ex-husband’s home in Romsey, Hampshire.
Greg said police had obtained a warrant to search his £460,000 bungalow in the hunt for his and Rosemary’s son Paul.
Mr Elsey married Mrs Dinch in 1966. They had two children, Paul and Debbie, before divorcing.
He said Debbie and her son Nathan had been very close to Gaia and her twin sister Maya when Nathan was growing up. But the teenagers fell out recently after Nathan broke up with his ex-girlfriend.
According to Greg Elsey, Paul, who left his mobile phone at his father’s address, claims he was carrying out work on a flat he owns in Weymouth, Dorset, on the day of Gaia’s disappearance last week.
Mr Elsey has criticised the police’s decision to arrest his ex-wife on suspicion of murder saying she was terminally ill and needed oxygen to get around. He insisted she ‘could not murder a chicken’.
The father-of-two said he believes his family are being wrongly targeted by police in their investigation over the missing 19-year-old.
Mr Elsey said his single son enjoys taking winter skiing holidays, is not active on social media but likes to go out drinking with his friends.
As a carpenter he works on church restorations but on the day Gaia went missing was working alone in Weymouth, according to his father.
He said Paul may have initially appeared reluctant to come forward and speak to police because the experience of his nephew being locked off could have put him off.
Speaking earlier this week, Mr Elsey said: ‘When they arrested Nathan Dorset police kept a 19-year-old boy who has never been in trouble in his life in a cell for 24 hours. Even Gaia’s family said he would not hurt a fly. He was asked a dozen questions. They could have done that in a few hours.’
Mr Elsey added reports suggesting his grandson and Gaia were close are false.
‘They had known each other since they were six but about a year ago they had a big falling out and have not spoken to each other. She was not round there every week. His current girlfriend looks vaguely like Gaia and that is why the neighbours are confused.’
Greg said he has every sympathy with the Pope family and is desperate for the teenager to be found.
‘Their life has been turned upside down. I feel terribly sad for their family but it has also affected my family. It is a hell of a strain.’
Last pictures: Gaia Pope was seen buying an ice cream at a petrol station in Valley Road between Langton Matravers and Swanage at around 2.55pm on Tuesday, November 7. Shortly after, she disappeared
Paul Elsey’s VW Golf, pictured above outside the property he shares with his mother Rosemary Dinch, has been seized by police while the home remains cordoned off by officers
Forensic investigators are pictured carrying equipment to scour the home of Rosemary Dinch, 71, in Manor Gardens, Swanage
Search continues: Devon and Cornwall Police were photographed diving into a lake for clues on Thursday
Dorset Police have refused to comment on the decision to take away Paul Elsey’s VW Golf car car for forensic examination.
Mr Elsey claims his ex-wife received a visit from Gaia out of the blue on Tuesday last week.
He said: ‘Rosemary was on her own at home and Nathan didn’t have college on the Tuesday so he was at home too.
‘Troubled but strong’: Gaia’s father said the teenager has had a difficult life but was strong and caring. Pictured, the 19-year-old in hospital in July to undergo tests for brain surgery
‘At 3pm, Rosemary heard ‘bang, bang, bang’ on the front door. She goes down and sees Gaia crying her eyes out, screaming, talking all sorts of broken biscuits.
‘She says, ‘Come on up Gaia’, trying to calm her down. She called Rosemary ‘Nana’, they were ever so close.
‘Rosemary took her upstairs and she took her top off and said ‘I’m red hot’. Rosemary won’t tell anybody what Gaia was saying. She doesn’t think it’s right because the girl was in a neurotic state.
‘She then turned around and said she was going to see a girl she went to school with. Rosemary made her put her top back on but she wouldn’t take a coat with her.’
Criticising the police’s arrest of his ex-wife, who suffers from lung condition emphysema, Mr Elsey added: ‘She’s terminally ill, she’s 71 years old and the police took her away on suspected murder. They’re a load of bumbling p***** like something out of Hot Fuzz.’
Earlier this week, 69-year-old Greg Elsey said police had contacted his son Paul, last week and he offered to provide officers with his phone and bank card, showing he was away from home working in Weymouth, Dorset, at the time of Gaia’s disappearance.
But when police officers turned up at his home on Wednesday looking to speak to Paul, he had gone to stay with a friend.
On Wednesday, forensic investigators have been spotted removing parts of piping and toilet fixtures from Mrs Dinch’s home in Manor Gardens – the last place Gaia was seen before disappearing.
Police teams were also seen wading through a nearby millpond in Swanage looking for clues that could trace her.
Dorset Police’s senior investigating officer Neil Devoto said they believed Gaia was wearing the same grey and white woven leggings and white trainers, but was last seen in a red checked shirt with white buttons.
‘Help us bring her back!’ Mother Natasha, an actress who starred in The Bill and Inspector Morse, urged volunteers on Wednesday to check everywhere in their hunt for Gaia
‘So we best crack on and discover the truth’: Mother Natasha Pope thanked the thousands who have helped carry out dozens of searches across Swanage and the wider Dorset area
The mother of missing teenager Gaia Pope (pictured right), Natasha (left), launched a Facebook appeal desperately urging people to ‘check their garages and vans because she could be held prisoner there’
Upsetting post: Two days before Gaia disappeared, she posted a desperate message to Instagram suggesting she feared for her safety
Earlier this week, Gaia’s aunt Talia Pope, 59, told MailOnline there was still ‘no evidence’ to prove the teenager was dead as police have not found a body.
She said: ‘We are just searching until we find her. The search is continuing for my niece. It’s ongoing at the moment. It’s inconclusive. But we are just searching until we find her. We’ve got a long way to go yet’.
Two days before her disappearance Gaia posted a message on Instagram that said she was worried about being ‘shut up and put in a cell’ with the hashtag #sexualassault and one follower urged her to ‘run somewhere safe’.
And on the day of her disappearance, her father said she had become upset following an ‘interaction on Facebook’. Shortly after, she fled her aunt’s home, where she had been staying, and ran to Nathan Elsey’s house.
Neighbour Jack Goode, 25, said there had been reports of ‘shouting and screaming’ from Mrs Dinch’s flat on the day Gaia disappeared.
Mr Goode said: ‘The person who lives below told me they heard shouting and screaming on the day it happened.
‘It would’ve been not long before she went missing. Debbie, Nathan’s mum, went over and apologised to them disturbing them.’
He added that Gaia appeared to be good friends with Elsey.
Det Supt Int Paul Kessler said the force believes Gaia has come to ‘serious harm’ after three arrests have been made this week in the search to find her
Pictured: Police teams pictured wading through a nearby millpond in Swanage, where Gaia Pope disappeared nine days ago
He said: ‘I saw Gaia, I think she was good friends with Nathan. I probably saw her walking to his flat with him twice a week before she disappeared. They spent a lot of time together.’
Gaia is from nearby Langton Matravers but had recently been staying with an aunt in Swanage, a few streets away from the home of Nathan Elsey.
Not giving up: Gaia’s family believe she is still alive
The cousin of Gaia Pope made an emotional statement on Wednesday, saying she believed her relative was still alive.
Marienna Pope-Wiedemann said the family were ‘devastated’ by her disappearance but have not given up hope the 19 year old will be found.
Speaking to Meridian TV, Marienna said the CCTV footage of Gaia running from the address where she was last seen alive was ‘frightening’ for the family.
She said: ‘It was just an ordinary day, then she disappeared. It’s frightening looking at the CCTV because we don’t know what the story is. We just know she is alive.’
Marienna said the family were left shocked and confused by the arrest of 19 year old film extra Nathan Elsey as he was considered a friend of the teen.
He was arrested on suspicion of murder with his 71 year old grandmother Rosemary Dinch but later released by police. Nathan and Gaia were friends. ‘They went to school together. I can’t believe he has any reason to hurt her,’ said Marienna.
‘I believe she is out there, she is just waiting for us to find her. Gaia’s mum and dad are devastated. There are no words for what they are going through.
‘The community has been absolutely incredible and we are so profoundly grateful for what everybody is doing and we ask them to keep going.’
Neighbours there said Gaia had visited Nathan’s flat two or three times a week before she disappeared, but weren’t sure if they were a couple or close friends.
A female relative of Emilie Brylak, a close friend of Nathan’s said: ‘I have heard about the arrests, I just don’t believe it.
‘He is a very quiet young man. I have known Nathan for quite a while and he is good friends with my granddaughter.
‘They go to the same college. He comes here and I take her to his house.
‘He is a very gentle young man who doesn’t go out. I just don’t believe it.’
Hundreds of volunteers as well as police officers and search teams have been involved in trying to find the teenager this week.
The coastguard and hundreds of members of the public have been searching for Gaia on cliffs, woods, nature reserves and beaches after her disappearance.
Her older sister Clara Pope-Sutherland, 21, told the Daily Echo on Tuesday: ‘We just want her to come home.
‘She’s a home bird. She would never do anything like this.
‘She’s just not the kind of person to go off like this – she’d always let us know what was happening.
‘That’s the most concerning thing of all.
‘We’re so worried and we just want to know she’s safe.’
The last reported sighting of Gaia was at an address in Manor Gardens on Morrison Road of Swanage.
She was said to be wearing a red checked shirt with white buttons, grey and white woven leggings and white trainers.
Comedian Russell Brand, who has more than 12 million followers on Twitter, re-tweeted a poster with information about the appeal.
Speaking about the disappearance, Gaia’s cousin Marienna Pope, described the situation as a ‘waking nightmare.’
Her older sister, Clara, 21, revealed earlier this week Gaia went missing without a coat on.
Posting to Facebook on Tuesday, she wrote: ‘In dire need of help; sister missing. There is a full-on police search for my sister Gaia in Swanage. On the way out to get a referral from the GP with my aunt, she walked out the house with no phone or means of contact at around 5pm.
‘Gaia suffers from increasingly severe epilepsy (we have no idea if she has her medication with her) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
‘She is currently going through a period of extreme worry/PTSD episode. As you can probably imagine, she is very vulnerable.
‘I’m hoping that she’ll show up after being sat somewhere and say ‘I was just chilling out and taking some me time’. But after a full night of no one having any contact from her, its safe to say I’m feeling sick to my stomach.
‘So this is a call to arms, please, if you can. Swanage/Dorset/People with cars. I need to find my sister.’
Family distraught: Gaia’s loved ones say their world has been turned upside down following her disappearance. Pictured, Gaia (left) with her mother Natasha (centre left), sister Clare (centre right) and her twin sister Maya (right)
Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.
- Start your Own Business
- Internet Business Opportunity
- Online Business For Sale
- Turnkey Websites For Sale
Computers and Software Buyers Guide
Compare Computers and Laptops
Mobile Phones Buyers Guide
- Mobile Phones Buyers Guide
- Mobile Phones Accessories Buyers Guide
- All in one Printers Buyers Guide
- Fax Machines Buyers Guide
- Home Telephones Buyers Guide
Compare Mobile Phones
- Compare Mobile Phones
- Compare Mobile Phone Accessories
- Compare Smart Watches
- Compare All in One Printers
- Compare Mobile Phones
- Compare Mobile Phone Accessories
- Compare Smart Watches
- Compare All in One Printers
- Compare Fax Machines
- Compare Home Telephones
- Compare Home Telephone Accessories