Monday, November 20, 2017

The Death of Gaia

Gaia (right) and her cousin Marienna
Police are facing questions over the handling of the search for Gaia Pope, whose body was found near a coastal path 11 days after she vanished from a Dorset seaside town.

Three members of one family arrested last week on suspicion of murdering the 19-year-old have been released from further investigation after a postmortem found no indication that anyone else was involved in Pope’s death.

A relative of the arrested trio claimed police could have found Pope sooner had they not focused on the theory that she had been the victim of foul play.

Pope’s family said they also had questions to ask but thanked the police and other emergency services for their efforts. They paid emotional tributes to Pope, describing her as a “wise, magnificent soul,” and vowed to stay strong for the sake of her two sisters.

Specialist police search teams found Pope’s body on Saturday afternoon close to a craggy stretch of coast on the Isle of Purbeck, not far from where items of her clothing were found on Thursday. The spot is about a mile from the outskirts of Swanage, from where she vanished on 7 November.
The search by family and friends while body is found a mile away
Police said she had not suffered any injuries that would suggest anyone else was involved. The cause of death may not be known for some time because toxicology and other tests are being carried out.

Dorset police said no further action would be taken against Rosemary Dinch, 71, her son Paul Elsey, 49, and her grandson Nathan Elsey, 19, who were all arrested on suspicion of murder.

Dinch’s ex-husband Greg Elsey criticised the police over the arrests. He said the spot where Pope’s body was found by police was one of her favourite places and should have been searched carefully earlier.

He said he believed Pope went to Dinch’s house in Swanage on the day she vanished because it was a safe place. Elsey said: “She knew Rosemary was an elderly, kind lady so she felt safe to go there. She [Pope] was in a terrible state.”

Elsey argued that if police had concentrated more on Pope’s distressed state they might have launched a more effective search. “I think a bigger search would have taken place immediately. They could have put helicopters up and they may have found her alive,” he said.

“They [the police] decided my family were involved when all they did is show kindness. If they had handled this properly, Gaia would have been found a lot earlier, but instead of that they have totally mishandled it.”

He said the investigation had taken a “terrible toll” on his family and that Dinch and Nathan Elsey “collapsed on the floor crying” when they learned Pope’s body had been found.
TV actress Natasha Pope
Natasha Pope said her daughter was “a light that will radiate for all eternity”. In a statement, she said: “My beautiful Gaia … a wise, magnificent soul that burns far too bright for this world. Her spirit overflows with love and compassion for others.”

Asked whether he had questions that needed answering, Pope’s father, Richard Sutherland, told ITV News: “Yes, we want to know more. I think we know that she was really struggling. A lot of issues and she clearly just couldn’t cope with that. With the epilepsy, she was just struggling badly.

Sutherland said he last spent a day with Pope just over a week before she went missing. He said:

“I took her to the hairdressers. She told me she would be 45 minutes, she was getting some highlights done in her hair, she was very excited about it. She was about three and a half hours. Then we went for something to eat and had a lovely time together. It was good. She was in a happy mood at the time."

“I want everybody to know that we fight on for the sake of her sisters. She lives on through her sisters and we fight on for them. We love you, we stick together, we will come through this together.

Addressing his daughter directly, he said: “Our beautiful bird has flown. She’s not with us now in body but she will remain in our hearts and with us forever, so while the loss of her in one way is immeasurable, we will treasure you, Gaia, and honour you always. You’re not in pain any more my darling. We love you. I love you.”

It took over 11 days to find her!
The Mirror.Online from 20th November:

Vulnerable Gaia Pope was terrified of coming face to face with attackers who subjected her to a terrifying gang assault when she was just 17, it was reported.

The 19-year-old, whose body was found in a field on Saturday, 11 days after she vanished, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder following the attack two years ago.

No one else was involved in her death, police said last night.

Gaia's father Richard Sutherland, feared her epilepsy may have played a part in her disappearance as she had been warned by doctors that she was at risk of sudden death from the condition.

Mr Sutherland said his daughter struggled with her ill health and the "trauma" of the attack, which he said had a "really devastating effect on her".

He told MailOnline: "She was involved in a situation where some guys assaulted her. I think this had been coming back into her head. She was scared."

He added that Gaia had been confused and suffered from memory loss.

Gaia herself appeared to allude to the attack in one of her last posts on social media.

On November 5, two days before she vanished, the teenager posted a screenshot of what appeared to be texts on her phone with the hashtag #sexualassault.

Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell of Dorset Police said on Sunday: “The postmortem examination has not identified any i­njuries to suggest any other person was involved in her death. The cause of death is undetermined pending toxicology.

“The coroner is involved in the oversight of these examinations but at this time this remains an investigation into an unexplained death.”
Gaia, twin sister, and cousin (I may have them mixed up here, apologies)
The Sun.Online tells us:

TRAGIC Gaia Pope once reported a revenge porn sex beast to cops, it has been revealed, as the troubled teen's parents said she was "no longer in pain".

The 19-year-old, whose body was found close to cliffs near Swanage, Dorset, on Saturday, made an accusation about "Connor Hayes" currently serving a prison sentence for an unrelated offense.

Hayes, 24, was jailed alongside friend William Wright after posting a tape of them having consensual sex with a teenage girl - who is not connected to the tragic student - online.

The pair were jailed in April at Bournemouth Crown Court for charges related to taking an indecent image of a child under 18.

Although the girl was over the age of consent, she was under 18 meaning was illegal to make or possess indecent images of her.

Richard Sutherland had said his daughter Gaia, who suffered from epilepsy, was agonised by an assault by a group of men when she was 17 and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.

He said: “This had a devastating effect. I think this had been coming back into her head. She was scared, confused.”

He also said that Gaia's behaviour had become increasingly erratic in the days leading up to her disappearance and she had shown up the home of her friend’s grandmother in a “distressed and agitated state”.

Cops last night said they had ruled out murder after a post-mortem examination “has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved” in Gaia's death.

Questions have now been raised over the police's handling of the case, with Rosemary's ex-husband Greg Elsey hitting out at a "witch hunt" and saying the family are "considering legal action".

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