Kent dog walker Claire Knights who was found dead was 'trailblazer in life' say family

Claire Knights was found between St Nicholas at Wade and Minnis Bay, two days after she was reported missing. Credit: Family handout

A missing dog walker who was found dead in Kent has been described as an "amazing" artist and a "trailblazer in life" by her family.

Claire Knights, from Upstreet, near Canterbury, was reported a high-risk missing person on Wednesday 23 August, and was discovered dead by her family between St Nicholas at Wade and Minnis Bay, while they were carrying out searches for her on Friday 25 August.

It is believed Ms Knights, 54, had been walking her white and brown spaniel, called Zebulon, from the village to the Minnis Bay area of Birchington.

A family statement released by Kent Police said: "Claire was a loving mum, partner, daughter and sister. An amazing contemporary artist, a trailblazer in life.

"She loved animals and in particular her springer spaniel, Zebulon.

"We, the family, are struggling to come to terms with the fact she is no longer with us. We wish to thank friends and the community for their active support and kind words."

Claire Knights was reported missing from the village of Upstreet before her body was found near Minnis Bay. Credit: Kent Police

Art school, The Margate School, also paid tribute to Ms Knights last week.

In a statement on August 29, it said: "She was an outstanding and exceptional artist, whose work reflected her complex, loving nature.

"Her sculptural work had elements of humour and wit alongside the determination."

Detectives at Kent Police are conducting a murder investigation, and arrested a man in his 20s from Margate on 24 August, who is being assessed by medical professionals.

In the opening of Ms Knights' inquest, coroner Catherine Wood said the initial given cause of death was blunt-force injury and drowning.

Ms Wood added that Ms Knights' death was "violent or unnatural" and that the inquest was suspended as the criminal inquiry continues.

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