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Gaia Pope’s father makes emotional tribute

Gaia Pope’s father has made an emotional tribute to his daughter.

Police are treating the 19-year-old’s death as “unexplained” after her body was found in a field near Swanage, Dorset, on Saturday.

Her father Richard Sutherland, who said his daughter had had “a lot of issues” and “clearly just couldn’t cope with that”, said she “remains in our hearts”.

Miss Pope’s cousin Marienna Pope-Weidemann said she was determined that “lessons will be learned”.

Visibly upset, she said: “It should not have taken 11 days to find her so close and we need to know why.”


Limited options

Philip Hammond in Downing StreetImage copyright Getty Images

The chancellor is known by some around Westminster as “box office Phil”, an ironic nickname for a politician who favours caution and prudence over showmanship and headline-grabbing pyrotechnics. So this should be Philip Hammond‘s sort of Budget.

The government is sticking with its aim of plugging the deficit and balancing the books. Although borrowing has fallen to its lowest level in a decade, the expected slowdown in productivity growth is likely to push future borrowing numbers back up, shrinking Mr Hammond‘s room to spend.

Add in the economic uncertainty around Brexit, and Mr Hammond might be tempted to play safe and avoid any drama.

There are political reasons for caution too. The Tories have a precarious working majority in the Commons with the help of the DUP, which means any remotely controversial votes on tax rises or spending cuts could easily be lost.

Mr Hammond has already been burned from fumbling a Budget measure, when he had to scrap plans to raise National Insurance contributions for the self-employed within a week of announcing the policy in March.

Political chess

The chancellor does not revel in the political chess games enjoyed by his predecessor, George Osborne, who delighted in trying to outfox his opponents with a mischievous surprise. Not always successfully.

Philip Hammond definitely does not need his own “omnishambles” Budget this week, and nor does the government.

Badly wounded by the botched general election in June, hit by the departure of two cabinet ministers in a month, divided on Brexit, for the Tories this is a Budget that must not backfire.

Ironically, it was June’s election that kept Philip Hammond in his job.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There has been evidence of real tensions between the prime minister and her chancellor

Hardly allowed out in public during the campaign, he was widely expected to be chopped after the expected victory – an impression Theresa May did nothing to dispel at a joint press conference with her chancellor in May.

Tensions between Number 10 and Number 11 were clear and the source of the agro was of course Brexit. A supporter of Remain during the referendum, Mr Hammond has found himself battling the Brexiteers in the cabinet.

‘Brexit negativity’

He wants a two-year post-Brexit transition deal agreed with the EU as soon as possible to stop businesses moving out.

He is resisting calls to set aside billions of pounds now for a no-deal scenario. Mr Hammond wants to protect financial services as much as possible.

In October, the former Tory Chancellor Lord Lawson accused Mr Hammond of acting in a way that was “close to sabotage”, because of his Brexit negativity, and urged Theresa May to sack him.

But the prime minister, an Oxford university contemporary of her chancellor, shows no sign of wanting to move him. She will remember too, the impact Geoffrey Howe’s dismissal from the Treasury in 1990 had on Margaret Thatcher’s premiership.

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Media captionWatch extracts of Geoffrey Howe’s 1990 resignation speech, widely considered pivotal in Margaret Thatcher’s downfall

If you haven’t seen it, his quietly deadly resignation speech is worth a few minutes of your time.

So considering the constraints, what are Tory MPs hoping for from Wednesday’s budget?

“Nobody is expecting much,” one veteran of the Conservative back benches told me. While no fan of Philip Hammond, “we don’t want a bloodbath”, they said.

‘Sunnier message’

“We don’t want him to screw it up,” said another senior Tory, who is hoping for a sunnier message from the sometimes doleful Chancellor.

The Tory MP Nigel Evans also says he wants a bit of cheer from Mr Hammond.

“If he comes to the despatch box and starts hand-wringing, and saying, ‘We’ve got no money,’ but at the same time we know they are prepared to up the amount of money they don’t necessarily have to give the EU, then we’ll all think, ‘What the heck’s going on?'”

The consistent view among Leave-supporting Tories is that they want him to sound upbeat about the possibilities of Brexit.

But the chancellor has strong admirers on the Tory benches too, relieved he is in the Treasury’s driving seat while the government argues about the final destination of Brexit.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has demanded “an emergency Budget for our public services”, which he says are in crisis

The MP for Chelmsford, Vicky Ford, is a fan. “I want a chancellor who’s as boring as anything, but really understands the numbers and the finances. I think Philip Hammond’s been doing an incredibly good, detailed analysis and that’s exactly what we need at this time.”

Tory MPs agree it is a very difficult Budget for Philip Hammond to pitch. It needs to try to prove the government has a purpose other than Brexit, while having very little cash to splash. Maybe the chancellor will surprise us.

The former schoolboy disco entrepreneur turned wealthy businessman took career risks long before he entered politics. But Wednesday will be one of his toughest challenges yet.

UK withdraws judge from UN court of justice seat bid

International Court of Justice sitting in the Hague on 16 December 2015Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption ICJ judges sitting in the Hague in December 2015

The UK is to lose its seat on the International Court of Justice for the first time since the United Nations’ principal legal body began in 1946.

Sir Christopher Greenwood was hoping to be elected for a second nine-year term on the bench of 15 judges in the Hague.

The government withdrew his candidacy after six rounds of votes with India‘s Dalveer Bhandari ended in a deadlock.

Sir Christopher was backed by the UN Security Council but his rival was chosen by the General Assembly.

A successful candidate needs to gain a majority of support in both bodies.

The UK‘s move means Mr Bhandari will be able take up a position on the ICJ, alongside four other judges already elected.

‘Close friend’

The UK government had considered invoking a little known arbitration process but in the end chose to take Sir Christopher out of the race.

The British ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said he was “naturally disappointed”.

Mr Rycroft said: “The UK has concluded that it is wrong to continue to take up the valuable time of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly with further rounds of elections…

“If the UK could not win in this run-off, then we are pleased that it is a close friend like India that has done so instead. We will continue to cooperate closely with India, here in the UN and globally.”

He said the UK would continue to support the work of the ICJ “in line with our commitment to the importance of the rule of law in the UN system and in the international community more generally”.

Shift in power

France and Russia, which along with the UK, US and China make up the permanent members of the UN Security Council, have also lost positions recently on UN bodies.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said the UK’s withdrawal of its ICJ candidate will be seen by some as a shift in the balance of power at the UN away from the Security Council.

He added the move will also be viewed as a humiliating defeat for the UK and a symbol of its reduced status on the international stage, as well as a failure of diplomacy.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The UN security council is made up of five permanent and 10 non-permanent members

Our correspondent said Mr Rycroft appeared to be hinting the UK had backed down to avoid damaging its relations with India, adding the fact that many countries were willing to defy the UK by supporting a judge from another country would have been less likely a few years ago.

Many members on the General Assembly, which contains representatives from all UN countries, are said to have come to resent the way the Security Council has so much power, particularly the five permanent members.

The so-called Group of 77 – which represent a coalition of mostly developing nations – has long been pushing for greater influence.

Puzzling problem

An engineer welding metalImage copyright Getty Images

At this Wednesday’s Budget, the man whose pronouncements will be most carefully watched may not, for once, be the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond.

Instead it will be the former journalist, economist and now director of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), Robert Chote.

Why? Because it’s down to him to arrive at a new, much more realistic view of a long, drawn-out economic calamity whose impact the government is only now accepting in full: a decade of flat productivity.

Until 10 years ago, productivity was the motor that drove economic growth. Its definition is nothing more complicated than the amount we produce per worker (or per hour).

If you’re a coffee shop worker, it’s the amount of coffees, tea and food each worker sells. On a pie-making production line, it’s how many pies you turn out. If you’re a lorry driver, it’s how much you deliver.

Now think of that lorry driver stuck in a traffic jam. With too little investment in new roads and too many cars and lorries using them, his trips are slower. However hard he works, he can’t keep delivering more than before. His productivity stalls.

That flat productivity has knock-on effects. The driver’s employer used to get a little more output from each worker each yearso they each made the company a bit more revenue. That made it possible to afford pay rises above inflation each year.

In turn that meant the driver could afford to buy more, boosting spending, and therefore growth, in the rest of the economy. And the chancellor of exchequer also benefited when the driver was paid, collecting higher income tax and national insurance, and when the driver spent money, because more VAT came in.

Until very recently the OBR was assuming that happy state of affairs would return. The 2008 crash had done its damage. But all being well the economy would recover – and with it the tax revenues that would enable the chancellor to close the gap between his income and his spending (also known as the Budget deficit).

Now have a look at the chart. The OBR’s been assuming at each Budget for years that output per worker would get back to its pre-crisis rate of growth – where we each produce about 2.1% more each year.

Instead, the typical rate of growth in the past five years has been 0.2%. As Robert Chote said last month: “Our assumption that productivity growth would return to a more normal rate within a few years reflected a judgement that whatever factors were depressing it in the wake of the financial crisis would fade as it receded further into the past.

“But as the period of weak performance gets longer, the explanations that people pointed to immediately after the crisis look less convincing and others seem more plausible.”

Hope of a recovery has been replaced by acceptance of weaker productivity growth – itself a large part of the reason why wages too are no higher in real terms than they were 11 years ago.

On Wednesday Mr Chote will publish his revised, more realistic assumption, accepting that something profound has changed. Accepting weaker productivity growth in the years to come means accepting lower tax revenue for the chancellor, which in turn means less scope for spending more, cutting taxes or reducing the deficit.

But hold on: it’s not as if we’ve been in recession all that time. Haven’t we had economic growth?

The answer is – yes. But not the sort we used to have. From one angle, an economy is simply people and their economic activity. If you add hundreds of thousands of people to the workforce each year, through people working into retirement and through immigration, then the economy will grow larger.

But GDP per capita – the amount we produce per person – has grown far more slowly.

It’s not just the UK that has suffered from weak productivity growth, it’s across all advanced countries. But in the UK, the weakness is worse. A period of weak productivity and weak wages this long hasn’t happened since the 1860s.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The words of the OBR’s Robert Chote may be significant on Budget day

One reason is weak business investment. A company trying to meet an expanding order book can try one of two methods: hire a few more people, or make its existing workforce more productive by investing in new, more efficient technology. As long as its cheaper and less risky to hire cheap labour, the business may hold off investment.

But weaker private investment – and private investment has in any case been growing recently – can’t account for the whole effect.

Another attempted explanation is weak training and poor infrastructure, another is weak spending on research and development – all of which play a role but none of which can explain in full the breakdown of what is normally the engine of economic growth.

The government hopes to address some of those weaknesses in a new industrial strategy, originally due to be published before the Budget but now postponed until next week.

Michael Jacobs, former Downing Street economic adviser and now director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, says the real problem isn’t the obvious industries, such as engineering or pharmaceuticals, where growth relies on big investment and high skills.

“The UK’s productivity problem lies in the vast majority of ordinary firms, in sectors such as retail, light manufacturing, tourism, hospitality and social care,” he says.

“Unless the White Paper includes a plan to raise productivity in these sectors, it will still not be addressing the real issue.”

Gaia Pope struggled with health before her death, father says

Gaia PopeImage copyright PA
Image caption Gaia Pope’s body was found 11 days after she went missing

Teenager Gaia Pope had “struggled” with health issues before her death, her father has said.

Police are treating the 19-year-old’s death as “unexplained” after her body was found in a field near Swanage on Saturday.

Her father Richard Sutherland, said his daughter had had “a lot of issues” and “clearly just couldn’t cope with that.”

Three people who were arrested on suspicion of her murder will face no further action, police said earlier.

Paul Elsey, 49, his mother Rosemary Dinch, 71, and her 19-year-old grandson, Nathan Elsey, were all questioned about Ms Pope’s disappearance.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Miss Pope’s body was found close to where items of her clothing were discovered two days earlier

Her body was found 11 days after she was reported missing in Swanage, on 7 November.

A post-mortem examination did not identify any injuries to suggest the involvement of other people, Dorset Police said.

The force is awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

Paul’s father, Greg Elsey, said Ms Pope was clearly “on the verge of a nervous breakdown” when she visited Mrs Dinch in an agitated state on the day she disappeared.

He said her health problems included a previous breakdown as well as epilepsy.

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Media captionGaia Pope’s family give statement

In a statement, Ms Pope’s mother Natasha described her daughter as “a light that will radiate for all eternity”.

“A wise, magnificent soul that burns far too bright for this world,” she said.

“Her spirit overflows with love and compassion for others. Gaia our free spirit, our wild pony.”

‘Very vulnerable’

Mr Sutherland thanked the emergency services and members of the public who joined searches for his daughter.

He said his daughter had “happy moments… right up into the end of her life“, despite her health problems.

Her cousin Marienna Pope-Weidemann said Ms Pope had been “very, very vulnerable, but such an inspiration”.

She said she was determined that “lessons will be learned” from Ms Pope’s death.

Visibly upset, she said: “It should not have taken 11 days to find her so close and we need to know why.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Gaia Pope’s father Richard Sutherland thanked members of the public before a community search on Saturday

Following her disappearance, searches by police, the coastguard and police helicopter – along with hundreds of volunteers – were carried out in the Swanage area.

On Thursday, police discovered clothing belonging to Ms Pope on open land outside the town.

Her body was found two days later in the same area.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Search and rescue teams scoured the open space above the cliffs near Swanage

Newcastle United takeover: Financial firm tables formal bid in region of £300m

Mike Ashley took over the running of Newcastle United in 2007

A financial firm headed by British businesswoman Amanda Staveley has tabled a formal takeover bid in the region of £300m for Newcastle United.

PCP Capital Partners has been in talks with the Premier League club’s owner Mike Ashley for about a month, and a source close to the deal said an offer has now been made.

Ashley said on 16 October he wanted to sell after 10 years in charge.

Staveley watched Newcastle’s 1-1 home draw against Liverpool on 1 October.

The 44-year-old helped broker the purchase of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour bin-Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 2009, and it was reported she led Dubai International Capital’s £400m bid for Liverpool in 2008.

Ashley, 53, has been a divisive figure at St James’ Park since taking over in 2007, with some supporters regularly protesting about the way the businessman has run the club.

He bought Newcastle for £134.4m in 2007. Their latest accounts – up to 30 June 2016 and before the club’s relegation to the Championship – showed a profit of £900,000 and turnover of £126m in 2015-16.

The Magpies have been relegated twice from the Premier League during Ashley’s reign.

After winning promotion last season, Rafael Benitez’s side are 11th in the Premier League after 12 matches.

Bi the way…

Image copyright Cardiff University
Image caption Prof Riordan said he “I felt uncomfortable that people presumed I was straight”

When Cardiff University’s vice chancellor prepared to send his monthly email to staff, his finger hovered over the send button for just a moment longer than usual.

That was because, alongside the usual round-up of academic affairs and campus matters, Prof Colin Riordan included a note explaining he is bisexual.

Prof Riordan, who has been in the post since 2012, said “he has never deliberately kept it a secret”.

But when he sent the email last month, he felt it was important to “speak out”. So why did he open up?

It came about, as he explained in the memo, after he realised he had missed the university’s Bi-Visibility Day in September, despite a colourful awareness flag being flown above his building.

“Once I had realised I’d missed the bi-visibility day, I felt it important to say I was encouraged by it and supported it,” he told BBC Wales.

“I wanted to show it was a good thing, to help stop making bisexual people feel invisible.”

‘Felt fraudulent’

But it was a move which might perhaps have surprised his 7,000 staff, including close colleagues.

Prof Riordan said that, despite having held his Cardiff post for five years, he had not told anyone at work, nor in his previous role as vice chancellor of the University of Essex.

“I never deliberately kept it a secret but I never felt the need to mention it either,” he said.

“Obviously, anyone I was in a relationship with knew the situation, but there was no real reason for colleagues to know.”

But this led to a situation where some at the university presumed he was “straight” – something which weighed on his mind.

Prof Riordan added: “When I joined Cardiff University, I was asked to become a friend of Enfys – the university’s LGBT network – but then I read an article somewhere where I was described as its ‘straight friend’.

“I felt fraudulent and uncomfortable that people presumed I was straight. Speaking out allowed me to correct the false impression.”

Image copyright Cardiff University
Image caption The bi-visibility flag flying over Cardiff University on 23 September 2017

The move also allowed Prof Riordan to show support for the bisexual community, which he believes “still faces problems“.

“Invisibility is a big problem for people who are bisexual, because they often have no need to mention it,” he said.

“People would notice if the person was gay, but being bi is not so obvious, and that’s why we should talk about it.”

There are also stereotypes to contend with.

He added: “I’ve been told I’m gay and just in denial. I’ve also been told there is no such thing as bisexuality and also that everyone is bisexual to some degree, which is quite dismissive.

“I’ve never been accused of being promiscuous, but that can happen.

“Some people too can feel excluded by the LGBT community because they are not exclusively gay, though again, I’ve not encountered this.

“More often, people in this scene are just suspicious, like they are not quite sure what you’re all about.”

Despite these problems, however, the former German lecturer, 58, has never wished he was different.

He said: “I’ve never wished for anything else. I’ve always been this way and I’ve always been aware of it.”

Image caption The bi-visibility flag is pink, lavender and blue

That said, speaking out about his bisexuality has not been easy.

“Making the decision to send the email to all those thousands of people was quite worrying and stressful,” he said.

“Although this is not a big thing for me, I knew it would be seen as a big thing by others.

“It feels quite exposing, and I knew some people might react badly.

“I don’t suppose I’d have done it had I not felt it to be so important.”

Reaction to the news, however, has been nothing but positive – with staff emailing him to say it has helped give them courage and think about their own issues.

But perhaps most surprising of all, has been Prof Riordan’s own relief.

He said: “Already I feel more myself and that a weight has been lifted. I am now being truly honest with those around me, and there is a certain freedom in that.”

So, does he feel the time is right for people in powerful positions to be more open about their sexuality?

“Twenty years ago, I would never have mentioned this in the work place,” he said.

“It was simply not spoken of.

“I realise that not everything is solved in terms of LGBT rights, but compared to how things used to be, there’s a huge difference.”

Image copyright Matthew Horwood
Image caption Thousands of people head to Cardiff city centre each year to celebrate LGBT event, Pride Cymru

With his announcement, Prof Riordan, who has two grown-up daughters from a former marriage, joins a tiny minority of leading academics who are openly non-heterosexual.

He said: “Only a few vice chancellors have spoken out about being gay or lesbian and none about being bi, as far as I’m aware.

“People have said that I am brave for telling the truth, but I don’t feel it.

“In all honesty, I think most people don’t really care one way or the other.

“Cardiff University is already very progressive in terms of its support for LGBT people.

“But if there is a chance that any of our students or colleagues might feel more supported and less invisible by my mentioning this, then it’s worth doing.”

Hogwarts Express rescue family reunited with canoe

CanoeImage copyright Jon Cluett
Image caption Mr Cluett said the canoe was left largely undamaged by its ordeal

A family rescued by the “Hogwarts Express” stream train after becoming stranded have been reunited with their lost canoe.

Jon and Helen Cluett and their four young children were staying at a bothy in Lochaber when the boat was swept away by a swollen river.

They were picked up by the train after phoning the police for advice.

But their red canoe went missing until it was finally spotted on the edge of the loch by a passing driver.

Mr Cluett said it was a perfect “happy ever after ending” to get the canoe back.

The Cluetts took their children – aged six, eight, 10 and 12 – to the Essan bothy on the south shore of Loch Eilt during the October half-term.

The bothy can be reached by a 10 minute paddle across the loch.

When their canoe was washed away, they were facing a long walk back to their car across boggy land until the police arranged for the train to pick them up.

Image caption The canoe was spotted on the north edge of the loch by a passing driver

The train, called The Jacobite, is used for excursions on the West Highland Railway Line, crossing the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct that also features in the movies.

Mr Cluett told BBC Scotland: “It’s great to have it back. It’s one of those things – I didn’t realise how much I wanted a canoe until it was taken away from me.

“I left it in my garden for most of the day after getting it back and then went and sat in it to have a coffee.”

The canoe is also largely undamaged, apart from a “small dint”, Mr Cluett said.

Image copyright Jon Cluett
Image caption The Harry Potter train made an unscheduled stop close to the bothy to pick up the Cluett family

It was spotted by a driver last week who reported it to the police. Officers then got in touch with the Cluetts to check it was theirs.

Mr Cluett said the family had been overwhelmed by the support they had received from locals who had gone out looking for their canoe.

“Thanks to all who have been in contact and thanks to all who have been and looked for us” he added.

“It made a great, perfect end to our adventure.”

‘No others involved’ in Gaia Pope’s death

Gaia PopeImage copyright Gaia Pope
Image caption Gaia Pope was last seen in Swanage on 7 November

There were no injuries to suggest “any other person was involved” in the death of missing teenager Gaia Pope, police have said.

The 19-year-old’s body was found on Saturday in a field near Swanage, 11 days after she was last seen.

Dorset Police is treating her death as “unexplained” pending toxicology results.

Three people were arrested on suspicion of murder as part of the investigation and released under investigation.

Det Supt Paul Kessell said: “The post-mortem 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.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Some items of clothing that Miss Pope was wearing on the day she went missing were found on Thursday

Miss Pope, who had severe epilepsy, had not been seen since 7 November.

Her disappearance prompted a massive campaign from family and friends who spent days scouring the town.

‘I am heartbroken’

Items of clothing she was wearing on the day she went missing were found on Thursday, close to where her remains were found near a coastal path.

Police thanked volunteers for their help in searching for the teenager, but have asked people to stay away from the site due to safety concerns.

Det Supt Kessell added: “I reiterate this area is steep and slippery in an exposed area close to sea cliffs. The area is covered in dense undergrowth and gorse and can present a hazard.

“The area where the body was located is likely to remain cordoned off for some time while forensic examinations and searches are concluded.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Miss Pope went missing in Swanage on 7 November
Image copyright PA
Image caption Flowers have been left in Miss Pope’s memory at a Swanage monument

Earlier, Miss Pope’s twin sister, Maya, spoke of her heartbreak and vowed to “make her [sister] so proud”.

On Facebook, she added: “Can’t find any words right now. Gaia is my everything and I am heartbroken. I thank everyone who was involved in searching for my beautiful twin.”

Her elder sister, Clara Pope-Sutherland, said the 19-year-old was the “light of my life” and “intelligent, beautiful and emotionally wise”.

‘Absolutely devastated’

Floral tributes have begun to be left on the Alfred Monument, next to the sea front.

Family friend Sheri Carr, who organised the Find Gaia social media campaign thanked the public for its support.

“We are absolutely devastated, and unable to put into words our feeling of loss,” she wrote on social media.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The public has been asked to stay away from the site due to safety concerns

On the day she went missing, Miss Pope was seen at about 15:00 GMT buying an ice cream at St Michael’s Garage, having been driven there by a relative.

She was then spotted an hour later on CCTV in Manor Gardens, off Morrison Road.

Rosemary Dinch, 71; her 49-year-old son Paul Elsey; and 19-year-old grandson Nathan Elsey – all of whom were known to Miss Pope – were questioned by detectives and released under investigation.

Gaia Pope: Sister says teenager was ‘light of my life’

Gaia PopeImage copyright PA
Image caption Gaia Pope was last seen in Swanage on 7 November

The sister of Gaia Pope has described the teenager as the “absolute light of my life“, after police found a body on Saturday.

Clara Pope-Sutherland said her sister was “intelligent, beautiful and emotionally wise”, in a tribute to the 19-year-old from Dorset.

The body was found at about 15:00 (GMT) near Swanage, close to where items of her clothing were found on Thursday.

Dorset Police said it was “confident” it was the missing woman.

Miss Pope had not been seen for 11 days before the discovery of the body near the coast path.

Det Supt Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police’s major crime investigation team, said a post-mortem examination would take place and forensic examinations would continue.

“This will guide the investigation in respect of the circumstances of the death, which at this time remains unexplained,” he said.

Det Supt Kessell said all the clothing had been found and the public was no longer needed to help with the searches.

He said Miss Pope’s family was being supported by specially-trained officers.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionGaia Pope’s cousin and sister spoke after the body was found

Miss Pope’s cousin, Marienna Pope-Weidemann, said: “We are absolutely devastated and unable to put those feelings of loss into words.

“Our little bird has flown, but she will always be with us.”

‘Community spirit’

The teenager’s body was discovered by police on Saturday afternoon as local people took part in three mass searches of land around Swanage.

Addressing those volunteers who searched, her sister said everyone’s hard work had been “absolutely worth it”.

It had been a “ray of light” in the nightmare, said Miss Pope-Weidemann.

During the search for Miss Pope three people were arrested on suspicion of murder and released under investigation.

They were 71-year-old Rosemary Dinch; her 49-year-old son Paul Elsey; and her 19-year-old grandson Nathan Elsey – all of whom were known to Miss Pope.

Image copyright Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Image caption Land close to where the items of clothing were found was searched

The search for Gaia Pope

Image copyright Gaia Pope

7 November: Miss Pope is driven by a family member from Langton Matravers to Swanage. At 14:55, she is caught on CCTV at St Michael’s Garage buying ice cream. The last confirmed sighting is at 16:00 at an address in Manor Gardens on Morrison Road

8 November: Her family makes a plea through police for her to make contact. Dorset Police says it is “becoming increasingly concerned”

9 November: Searches by police, the coastguard and force helicopter are carried out in the Swanage area. Miss Pope’s relatives release a statement saying they are “frantic with worry”

10 November: CCTV footage shows Miss Pope on Morrison Road, Manor Gardens, at 15:39 on 7 November

13 November: Rosemary Dinch and Nathan Elsey are arrested on suspicion of murder and released under investigation

14 November: Searches continue with the coastguard and volunteers from Dorset Search and Rescue and Wessex 4×4

15 November: CCTV images of Miss Pope at St Michael’s Garage are released. Searches continue to concentrate inland

16 November: Paul Elsey is arrested on suspicion of murder. Miss Pope’s clothing is discovered in a field near Swanage and a police cordon is set up

17 November: Mr Elsey is released under investigation

18 November: Police discover a body near the coast path and a field close to where items of her clothing were found on Thursday