Gaynor Lord police say 'no evidence of third party involvement'

BREAKING NEWS Gaynor Lord police say she did not meet anyone before she vanished: Officers rule out ‘third party involvement’ but say they are ‘keeping an open mind’ as body is found in Norwich river in hunt for missing mother-of-three

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Police have said that there is ‘no evidence of third party involvement’ in the case of missing mother Gaynor Lord.

The search for Mrs Lord, 55, who was last seen walking out of her workplace at Jarrolds department store over an hour before her shift was due to end and dashing through the streets of Norwich on December 8, had today entered its second week.

Norfolk Police confirmed that a body was found in the River Wensum this morning amid the search for the married mother-of-three but formal identification has not yet taken place. 

Chief superintendent Dave Buckley said that the case remains a missing person’s inquiry and they do not believe she met anyone on the way to Wensum Park, where her belongings were found exactly a week ago.

He told reporters: ‘We remain open-minded to the circumstances of Gaynor’s disappearance, and we’ll continue to pursue all lines of inquiry to ascertain why she went missing. 

‘I’m keen to say this remains a missing person inquiry at this stage.

‘I am also satisfied at the moment, based on the evidence that we have, that Gaynor did not meet anyone on the way to the park, and we now have a better understanding of her movements through the city centre.’

The officer added: ‘I would reiterate at this stage that there is no evidence of third party involvement. Nothing in our inquiries have changed this position.’

Specialist police divers were seen searching an area of the River Wensum on Friday morning before finding a body, which they then pulled out of the water in a black bag. 

The mother-of-three (pictured) walked out of her workplace over an hour before her shift was due to end and hurried through the streets of Norwich

Police divers today found a body in the river, marking the location with an orange buoy before retrieving it from the water

A tent was set up in Wensum Park after Mrs Lord’s belongings were found nearby

This timeline shows what we know so far about how Gaynor Lord’s disappearance unfolded

Norfolk Police confirmed a body had been retrieved and that while it has not been formally identified, Gaynor’s family have been informed. They continue to be supported by specially trained officers.

Police yesterday revealed that they have ‘some indications’ as to why Mrs Lord left work early on the day she vanished, but also admitted they have not been able to establish her state of mind when she went missing with ‘any degree of confidence’.

Possessions including her rings, mobile phone and clothing were found in a park in the city hours later, while her coat was in the nearby river.

A police dive team assisting the search for the mother-of-three today carried out checks at a specific part of the River Wensum in Norwich, placing an orange buoy on the spot.

An Environment Agency search boat was stationed next to the buoy on Friday morning as a dive team truck arrived at the area just after 11am.

Two members of the dive team could be seen surveying the area, appearing to check if the water was safe to enter.

The discovery was made shortly before noon, only about 100m downstream from Wensum Park, where Mrs Lord was last seen alive.

Members of Norfolk Police underwater search team in the deep water signalled to colleagues on the bank that something had been found.

A large white tent was set up by the riverbank for privacy and a black body bag was slipped into the water.

Shortly afterwards, the divers pulled the laden body bag from the water, hidden from view by the tent.

The divers removed the object from the water next to the orange buoy which had been positioned in the river on Friday.

A police dive team assisting the search for the mother-of-three today carried out checks at a specific part of the River Wensum in Norwich

Police vehicles seen at the bank of the River Wensum in Norwich on Friday

Police were seen preparing to dive a new site in the river on Friday morning

The team could be seen scouring the river, which was marked with an orange buoy

The entrance to Norwich Cathedral, where Gaynor Lord was seen walking, as police continue the search for the mother of three who was last seen on Friday afternoon last week

Police released new CCTV footage yesterday showing the last time Mrs Lord was caught on camera, about ten minutes before her second call to Ms Butcher

Earlier on Friday, the friend of missing mother Gaynor Lord revealed her regret after she was phoned by her just half an hour before she left work but had to hang up after receiving another call from a work client.

Friend Julie Butcher had shared ‘gins and hugs’ with the mother-of-three just days before and the pair agreed to play tennis together after Christmas.

Ms Butcher told Sky News: ‘I wish I hadn’t have answered that call. [I] Really wish I hadn’t have answered that call. And then she may have talked to me a bit more or I might have found out the reason why she was calling me.’

READ MORE: Gaynor Lord detectives release last known CCTV of missing mother walking down the street minutes before she vanished as police say they can’t explain her behaviour that day

She said her friend asked her: ‘Where are you, where are you?’, on the call before Ms Butcher promised to call her back – but when she did so five minutes later there was no answer. 

Then, she got another call but thinks it was a pocket dial.

Ms Butcher told GMB: ‘It was 4.15pm and she rang me again. It sounded like a pocket call. It just sounded like she was walking. So I thought, ‘oh she obviously hasn’t meant to call me’. I just wish I’d have kept her on the phone and not taken that phone call because you never know, she might have said something.’

Speaking about the last time she saw Mrs Lord, she said: ‘She was happy on Tuesday and we had a few gins with her and the last time I saw her she gave me a hug.’ 

She said she was ‘upbeat’ and talking about Christmas just days before she disappeared.

‘We were talking. She was a bit busy but we were talking about Christmas and she seemed fine, no different to the usual Gaynor. She was quite upbeat and happy,’ Ms Butcher told the BBC.

Ms Butcher said: ‘I keep going over the conversation. If I hadn’t answered that call [from her client] would she have talked to me?  I feel terrible. I feel so sorry for the family… It’s not like Gaynor to do this.’ 

Speaking to GMB, she said of Mr Lord: ‘He sounded like he hadn’t slept. He sounded dreadful, as you would if your wife hadn’t come home.’

Speaking near the spot in Wensum Park where Mrs Lord is believed to have gone into the water, Chief Superintendent Dave Buckley of Norfolk Police said it will take ‘a couple of days’ or longer to complete the search of the stretch of river, which has included using sonar equipment.

‘It’s very, very challenging – the river is very, very full of water with all the rain, full of lots of debris,’ he said. The divers can see about one foot in front of them, so it’s an extraordinarily challenging environment for them to work in.’

Mr Buckley added that the force is keeping an open mind about what happened to to Mrs Lord but that ‘everything we know is pointing to a high probability that Gaynor went into the water’.

‘We’ve got some indications as to why she behaved the way in which she did but what we’re doing is we’re just working backwards now to actually truly understand what may have taken place.

‘We’re just cautious of everything we know at the moment because clearly we’ve ended up in the situation we have, which is not usual.’ 

Mrs Lord’s colleagues have insisted her behaviour was normal prior to her disappearance. A co-worker at the store’s Bullards Gin concession said she seemed her ‘normal, happy self’ days before.

Police searching for missing mother Gaynor Lord scour Wensum Park in Norwich on Thursday

Members of the dive team searching the River Wensum at Wensum Park in Norwich on Thursday

Gaynor Lord was last seen on Friday afternoon as she left work early from Norwich city centre

Police teams continue to hunt for clues in the disappearance of Gaynor Lord in Norwich on Thursday

Timeline of Gaynor Lord’s movements before going missing 


 2.44pm – Gaynor is working at the Bullards Gin counter in the basement at Jarrold department store – her clothing is clearly visible

2.45-2.46pm – She leaves the store via loading bay on Bedford Street

2.47pm – Walks onto London Street past Cosy Club

2.48pm – Gaynor makes her way onto Queens Street and walks toward the Cathedral

3.22pm – Gaynor is seen on The Close at the cathedral entrance – shortly before exiting through the archway she puts her coat on

3.23pm – She is seen to walk away from the cathedral on Queens Street – here you can see a clear image of the coat she was wearing

3.49pm – This is the last sighting of Gaynor on CCTV near the Playhouse on St George’s Street

3.53pm – Walks along St Crispins Road towards Pitt Street

4.01pm – Gaynor walks up St Augustines Street – her final movements captured in CCTV before going missing 


12pm – Police divers pull a body from the river 

A floor manager in the city centre store added: ‘There was nothing to suggest at all that something like this would happen… She didn’t show any signs of distress or concern.’

But a friend of hers, who was a salesman at a nearby store, revealed yesterday that Mrs Lord had told him she was ‘feeling a bit funny’ shortly before her disappearance.

‘It was very nonchalant. She said she was feeling a bit funny, a bit off,’ the man told the Daily Telegraph. 

He added: ‘We had a brief conversation about anxiety. She didn’t say she did or didn’t suffer with it… She had no mental health problems that I was aware of.’

Police released new CCTV footage yesterday showing the last time Mrs Lord was caught on camera, about ten minutes before her second call to Ms Butcher.

Taken just over an hour after she left the department store where she works and several hours before her belongings were found, she could be seen walking calmly along St Augustines Street in the city centre. 

She was later spotted by a woman, who said Mrs Lord appeared ‘quite calm’ as she performed a yoga pose with her coat on the ground beside her.

Norfolk Police, who have received around 30 calls from members of the public in response to appeals for information, don’t believe anyone else was involved in her disappearance but have not ruled it out.

Chief Superintendent Buckley added: ‘We’re really concerned about her safety. We are pursuing the inquiry that she’s missing and alive.’

The force has been liaising with Lancashire Police, which handled the investigation into Nicola Bulley, who went missing in similar circumstances earlier this year. 

Her body was found in the River Wyre and an inquest concluded she fell in and died of accidental drowning.

Mrs Lord’s husband Clive, 63, has not commented on the case.

Police search the New Mills Yard area of the River Wensum in Norwich

Detectives are using sonar equipment at the River Wensum in Norwich on Thursday

The New Mills Yard area of the River Wensum is the search focus for police on Thursday

Police continue to scour the River Wensum by Wensum Park in Norwich, pictured yesterday

Police teams continue to hunt for clues in the disappearance of Gaynor Lord in Norwich on Thursday

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