Police search beauty spot after man charged with murder of missing woman

Police search beauty spot after man charged with murder of missing woman

Missing woman:Gemma disappeared 14 years ago

Gemma Simpson: A man appeared in court charged with killing the 23 year old

One of the formations at Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire

First published in News
Last updated

POLICE have searched one of the region's best known beauty spots after a man was charged with the murder of a woman who disappeared 14-years ago.

Martin Bell, 44, appeared via video link from Hull prison, today (July 15) accused of murdering 23-year Gemma Simpson who vanished in Harrogate.

Ian Cook, for Bell, told Leeds Crown Court, that there would be no application for bail and added: "Inquiries are ongoing to locate the body."

Officers from the North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire forces have been searching a potential crime scene on land at Brimham Rocks, the popular National Trust site, near Ripon.

A police spokesman confirmed the search was part of the investigation into the disappearance of Gemma Simpson and officers from both forces have conducted a preliminary examination in the general area of Brimham Rocks

“Gemma’s family have been told about this development and are being kept fully informed as the investigation progresses," he added.

Bell, formerly of St Leonard’s Crescent, Scarborough, was arrested in the resort last week and has been charged with the murder of Gemma between May 4 and June 3, 2000 at a flat in Knaresborough Road, Harrogate.

Gemma, from Harehills, Leeds, disappeared after telling a friend she was catching a bus into Leeds city centre in May 2000 and then to Huddersfield to visit another friend.

Her family were unable to think of any obvious reason why she might have disappeared and have kept up constant pressure in an attempt to find out what happened to her.

A huge campaign was launched to trace her, with Gemma's face appearing on milk cartons and on the side of a fleet of 40 foot long lorries in a bid to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC remanded Bell in custody until July 22 for a preliminary hearing at which time a date for the case will be set.

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