Man arrested on suspicion of murder as officers search for missing woman near Canterbury

250823 Claire Knights murder
Claire Knights. Credit: Kent Police

Detectives investigating the disappearance of a woman from Upstreet, near Canterbury, have arrested a man.

Claire Knights, aged 54, was last seen in the village on the morning of Wednesday (23 August). Her vehicle, a silver Suzuki car, has since been found parked in Shuart Lane, St Nicholas At Wade.

She is believed to have walked from there to the Minnis Bay area of Birchington, where she is reported to have been seen later that afternoon.

Her disappearance is now being treated as suspicious and a potential murder. On Thursday (24 August), a man in his 20s from Margate was arrested on suspicion of murder.

The rucksack Claire is believed to have been carrying. Credit: Kent Police

Kent Police officers are continuing searches in Thanet as part of their work to locate Claire. Residents can expect to see an increased police presence as these enquiries continue.

Claire is described as being around five feet and six inches tall, with straight brown, greying hair. She was thought to be carrying a red or pink rucksack and was walking a white and brown spaniel.

Detective Chief Inspector Kath Way said: "Specialist officers are supporting the family at what is obviously an extremely difficult time for them and my officers are working hard to find out what happened to Claire.

"Claire's spaniel was recovered in Minnis Bay by officers on 23 August, but we have not been able to locate her. It is entirely out of character for her not to contact her family.

Claire's dog Zebulon. Credit: Kent Police

"We are keeping an open mind as to what may have happened and still hope to find Claire safe and well, however we are now also treating this case as a potential murder.

"I would urge anyone who may have seen Claire since she was reported missing to contact our appeal line. In addition, if you think you may have seen anything suspicious in the Minnis Bay area do not hesitate to call us. Residents with private CCTV and drivers with dashcam are also asked to check for relevant footage."

Anyone who believes they have seen Claire should call the force on 01843 222289, quoting the reference number 23-1922.

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