BBC News Update


The family of Dorset teenager Gaia Pope,
whose body was found after a huge search say they’re angry and concerned that
investigations into the police handling of the case still haven’t been completed.
It’s now almost two years since Gaia went missing and her family say they’re
struggling to stay afloat in a sea of unanswered questions.
The police watchdog says it’s working to complete the reports as quickly as
possible. Steve Humphrey has the story. Today, Gaia Pope’s cousin said the family wanted to speak out after being told of further
delays in the investigations by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. Gaia, who was 19, went missing in Swanage on November the 7th two years ago. Her
body was found 11 days later near the Dorset coastal footpath. “The whole
investigation is going on behind closed doors which is agony for us. It’s
devastating to have all these false starts, we’ve now been left for almost
two years with no answers to any of the questions that we had.” After the tragedy
the IOPC began two investigations. The first into the way Dorset police handled
the search, the second into how it dealt with a rape allegation made by Gaia, who
had epilepsy and mental health problems. Her family and friends say the
investigation delays mean that the inquest into her death has been pushed
back again. “People still don’t know what happened to Gaia. How did she end up
where she was, what happened in those 11 days, did the police act appropriately
and if not why not? None of those answers have been given
yet.” “We know very little about the real reasons for the delays in the
investigation and there’s been very little communication. We have to chase
for updates.” In a statement, the Independent Office for Police Conduct
says it’s working to complete the two investigations as quickly as possible. It
says that they have involved looking at a lot of documents, seen visits and
taking statements from a wide range of witnesses. The full inquest into Gaia’s
death won’t take place until next year. Steve Humphrey BBC South Today Swanage

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