England

Missing PC Gordon Semple: Man arrested on suspicion of murder

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Media captionMet Police statement after a man was arrested over missing PC Gordon Semple

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after human remains were found during the search for a missing Met police officer.

PC Gordon Semple, 59, was last seen on 1 April.

On Thursday, police found remains at a flat on the Peabody Estate in Southwark Street, south London, and arrested a 49-year-old at the address.

The Met said it was a "very sad day" and PC Semple's colleagues would "acutely feel his loss".

Officers are continuing a "vital search for evidence" at the flat which will take "some time" to complete, Scotland Yard said.

PC Semple, who had served as a police officer for 30 years, was seen on CCTV in Great Guildford Street at 15:00 BST last Friday. His partner reported him missing later the same evening.

Earlier, the officer, from Greenhithe, Dartford, had a work meeting at the Shard's Shangri-La hotel, which he left at about 12:30 BST.

Image copyright Gordon Semple
Image caption PC Gordon Semple was last seen on Friday 1 April
Image caption Human remains were found at a property on Peabody Estate

Scotland Yard's homicide unit joined the search effort for PC Semple, leading to the discovery of the remains at the flat.

Commander Alison Newcomb said the find was a "significant development".

Due to condition of the remains, she said, it would take "some time" to establish a cause of death and carry out formal identification.

"A man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in our custody and is being questioned by detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command," she said.

Image caption Officers searched the property after a report from a member of the public

"At this point I do not wish to speculate on what has happened.

"My thoughts are with Gordon's family and friends at this time of personal tragedy."

"This is a very sad day for Gordon's colleagues. There are many officers who have served London alongside Gordon during his 30 year career who will acutely feel his loss."

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption CCTV still of PC Gordon Semple on 1 April
Image copyright Met Police

PC Semple was originally from Inverness and had worked for Bank of Scotland before joining the police.

A statement from his family said: "Gordon's family would like to thank everyone for their support throughout this difficult time.

"Your support and help to find Gordon was overwhelming.

"He was a loved partner, brother, uncle and friend to many."

'Deeply disturbing'

Former Inverness Labour MP David Stewart was friends with PC Semple at school and they had met up when they both worked in the capital.

Friends and colleagues also paid tribute to him on Facebook.

Nigel Lewis said: "Deeply disturbing and saddening news after 9 years working with Gordon. The community he served will be as shocked as the rest of us. RIP."

Andy Dighton wrote: "RIP mate. Sunday lunch time will never be the same again. Love to Gary and the Semple family."

Kathy Whittington said: "Absolutely devastated that I'm not going to see your face at work anymore Gordon! Much love goes out to your family at the very difficult time xx."

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