'Confusion over clocks going back' led police to arrest trio over Gaia Pope's death

Gaia Pope disappeared on November 7 (PA)

The three members of the same family arrested on suspicion of the murder of teenager Gaia Pope were held after a police mix-up over the clocks going back, it has been alleged.

Paul Elsey, 49, his mother Rosemary Dinch, 71, and her grandson, Nathan Elsey, 19, were questioned about the teenager’s disappearance.

The trio have been released and will face no further action, police have now confirmed.

Gaia’s body was found in a field near Swanage on Saturday, 11 days after her disappearance. Officers are treating her death as “unexplained”.

According to Dinch, police wrongly arrested the pensioner and her family in connection with murdering Pope because of confusion over CCTV footage.

Floral tributes for Gaia Pope are left at the King Alfred Monument on the seafront in Swanage (PA Images)


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Nathan Elsey’s mother Deborah told The Sun: “The police got it all wrong. We gave them CCTV footage that showed Nathan going to his gran’s house around the corner.

“The time didn’t match the time on the footage so they dragged him in for murder.”

 “I was suspected of murder and my first thought was, ‘Oh my god, Gaia’s dead,'” Nathan said, adding that the experience was “horrible”.

His grandmother, who has severe emphysema and needs an oxygen tank, said: “I couldn’t breathe in the police station and they had to call a nurse in.”

The three are now considering legal action against the police.

A post-mortem did not find any injuries to suggest the involvement of other people, Dorset Police said. They are awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

Today, Gaia Pope’s father Richard Sutherland said that his daughter “struggled with her health” and “had a lot of issues” before her death.

In a statement, her mother Natasha described her as “a light that will radiate for all eternity”.

Pope was found 11 days after her disappearance (PA)

“[She was] a wise, magnificent soul that burns far too bright for this world,” she said. “Her spirit overflows with love and compassion for others. Gaia our free spirit, our wild pony.”

Sutherland said his daughter had “happy moments… right up into the end of her life”, but had had “a lot of issues” and “clearly just couldn’t cope with that.”

According to Greg Elsey, the father of Paul, Pope was “on the verge of a nervous breakdown” when she visited the family on the day she disappeared.

Yesterday, Pope’s sister described her as the “absolute light of my life”.

Clara Pope-Sutherland said the 19-year-old was “intelligent, beautiful and emotionally wise”.

Her cousin Marienna Pope-Weidemann said she had been “very, very vulnerable, but such an inspiration”.

She added: “It should not have taken 11 days to find her so close and we need to know why.”