Claire Holland disappearance: 'Substantial' police operation in Bristol as part of 2012 murder probe

A "substantial" police operation is underway in Bristol as part of a murder investigation sparked by a woman's disappearance back in 2012.

Specialist dive teams will be taking part in a series of what police have described as "targeted searches" across the city this week in relation to the disappearance of Claire Holland.

The 32-year-old was reported missing by her family on Thursday 14 June, 2012.

She was last seen at the Seamus O’Donnell’s pub in St Nicholas Street on Wednesday 6 June that year - just after the Queen's Jubilee weekend.

Now, almost 10 years later, Avon and Somerset Police say they are undertaking a "significant" operation in Bristol in connection with her disappearance.

They say some of the searches will involve specialist police dive teams.

The force has released CCTV footage of Claire on the day she disappeared as part of a renewed appeal for information from the public.

Police are also going to send messages to people who were friends with Claire on Facebook in 2012.

  • Watch CCTV released of Claire in lead up to her disappearance

A force spokesperson said: "We’d appreciate it if you could take some time to read the message and call us if you have any information which would assist. We’d also appreciate your help in sharing our appeal online."

Detectives say they believe Claire has been the victim of a crime and are treating her disappearance as "suspicious".

A 37-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of her murder in 2019. He remains released under investigation.

Senior Investigating Officer Det Insp Darren Hannant said: “We’d like the public to cast their mind back to The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend, which was on the weekend of 2-5 June in 2012. Claire went missing the day after this significant national event."

Police have released CCTV footage of Claire Holland taken on the day she disappeared Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

He said Claire was seen walking along Baldwin Street - heading towards the Seamus O'Donnell's pub - at around 9.30pm on Wednesday 6 June.

"We don’t have any footage showing where she went afterwards," he said. "But staff have confirmed she did leave the pub later that evening just after closing time, around 11.15pm.

"It is possible she headed in the direction of the fountains, near the Harbourside, but we don’t have any footage of her doing so, despite extensive reviews of more than 1,000 hours of available CCTV.

“We’re carrying out a number of intelligence-led searches in the Bristol area today and over the coming days, with some involving the specialist dive team, starting in parts of the city centre and moving to other areas through the week.

“At this time, we’re treating Claire’s disappearance as suspicious. Claire had no known reason to go missing of her own accord and had made plans for the week following her disappearance.

“Claire’s family are being kept up to date on the progress of this investigation and we’re committed to providing them with the answers they need. Specially trained liaison officers will continue to support them at this very difficult time.”

Who police want to hear from

Were you in the Seamus O’Donnell’s pub on the night Claire was last seen (Wednesday 6 June, 2012)? If you were and have not spoken to police, please do so now - they want to identify everyone who spoke to Claire on the day she disappeared.

Police are asking people to watch the CCTV clips and get in touch if they saw a woman matching Claire's description heading into Bristol city centre from the direction of St Nicholas Street after 11pm.

Claire is described as white, 5ft tall, of slim build, with shoulder-length brown hair, which was sometimes tied back in a ponytail.

If you saw her elsewhere in Bristol that evening, you should get in touch with police.

Police are asking people who saw Claire before her disappearance to get in touch. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Police also want to speak to any friends or acquaintances of Claire.

"We need to know as much as we can about what Claire was doing or sharing with others in the days and weeks leading up to her going missing," a force spokesperson said.

They added: "Has someone told you information about this case which may have sounded unusual or suspicious? Has anyone confided in you about what may have happened to Claire? Now is the time to put aside any doubts you have had about making contact and help us find answers for the sake of Claire’s family and loved ones."

How to provide information to police

If you have information which could help the investigation, call police on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5219172645.

Alternatively, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their website – they never ask for your name or trace your call.