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Man arrested on suspicion of murder amid search for missing woman

Claire Knights, aged 54 (Kent Police/PA)
Claire Knights, aged 54 (Kent Police/PA)

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the disappearance of a 54-year-old woman in Kent, police said.

Claire Knights, from Upstreet near Canterbury, was last seen in the village on August 23.

It is believed she was walking her white and brown spaniel called Zebulon from there to the area of Minnis Bay in Birchington, where she was reportedly seen that afternoon.

Ms Knights’ silver Suzuki car has since been found parked in Shuart Lane, St Nicholas At Wade, between the two locations. It is also thought she was carrying a red or pink rucksack.

Ms Knights’ dog was recovered by Minnis Bay by officers on August 23, but Kent Police’s detective chief inspector Kath Way said it was “entirely out of character” for Ms Knights not to contact her family.

On August 24, a man from Margate aged in his 20s was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Mr Way said: “We are keeping an open mind as to what may have happened and still hope to find Claire safe and well, however we are now also treating this case as a potential murder.”

Anyone who is thought to have seen Ms Knights – who is described as five feet and six inches tall, with straight brown and greying hair – is urged to contact Kent Police calling 999 quoting reference number 23-1922.

Residents and drivers with private CCTV and dashcams are also being checked for potential footage – which can be uploaded at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/4601020123F08-PO1.

Anyone with further information to help the investigation should contact 01843 222289, quoting the same reference number.