Human remains are missing PC Gordon Semple, says family

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMet Police statement after a man was arrested over missing PC Gordon Semple

Human remains found in a flat are those of a police officer reported missing a week ago, his family has said.

Met PC Gordon Semple, 59, was last seen on 1 April after leaving a meeting in Southwark, south-east London.

On Thursday police found the remains at a flat on the Peabody Estate in Southwark Street. A man, 49, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

In a statement, Mr Semple's partner Gary Meeks and brother Ronnie said "our world will be worse without him".

Met Commander Alison Newcomb said it would take "some time" to establish a cause of death and carry out formal identification, due to the condition of the remains in the flat.

Image copyright Gordon Semple
Image caption Gordon Semple became a Met Police officer 30 years ago

Heather Brown, a resident on the Peabody Estate where the remains were found, said a neighbour and his brother had confronted a man in block E about a "terrible smell" seeping out of the flat, despite scented candles being placed at the front door.

The 55-year-old said: "They just smelled this horrible smell, really.

"The candles had been outside for a few days".

When they knocked on the door to challenge him, the owner claimed he was "just cooking", Mrs Brown said.

Police are believed to have sealed off the rubbish chutes on the estate.

Image copyright PA
Image caption A "horrible smell" was detected by residents of the Peabody Estate

In a statement, Mr Semple's brother Ronnie said: "On behalf of Gordon's partner Gary, my wife Maureen, Gordon's nephew Paul, niece Kerry and I, I would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts during the past dreadful week.

"It has been a terrible time for us all, especially Gary... Gordon was a much loved partner, brother, brother-in-law, uncle and cousin and our world will be a worse place without him."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Forensics teams searched the flat on the Peabody Estate
Image copyright PA
Image caption Officers examine a communal waste storage area on the estate

The officer left his home in Greenhithe, Dartford, last Friday and was last seen in London Bridge area following a work meeting at the Shard's Shangri-La Hotel, which he left at about 12:30 BST.

He was seen two-and-half hours later on CCTV in Great Guildford Street, Southwark.

"At this point I do not wish to speculate on what has happened," Commander Alison Newcomb added.

"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

Friends and colleagues also paid tribute to the officer on Facebook.

A fundraising page has been set up by fellow Met officer Ian Scanlon to raise £2,000 to cover the funeral costs. PC Scanlon said he wanted to do his "bit to help" and added: "There most certainly is concern regarding what led to this incident."

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."

Originally from Inverness, Mr Semple had worked for Bank of Scotland before becoming a police officer 30 years ago.

His LinkedIn profile describes his most recent Met role from November 2012 as a business crime reduction adviser, and among his other listed skills are private investigations as well as security management.

More on this story