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Murder probe after body found in area where woman went missing while walking dog

Police have confirmed a murder investigation has been launched after a body was found in the area that a 54-year-old woman went missing while walking her dog.

Claire Knights, from Upstreet near Canterbury, was last seen in the Kent village on Wednesday.

It is believed she was walking her white and brown spaniel called Zebulon – which was later found – from there to the area of Minnis Bay in Birchington.

A body was found in a location near to Minnis Bay at 7pm on Friday and the family of Ms Knights have been informed although formal identification has not yet taken place, according to Kent Police.

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A force spokesman said that a man aged in his 20s had been arrested on suspicion of murder and was being assessed by medical professionals.

He added that a post-mortem examination had been carried out on the body but did not provide details of the cause of death.

The spokesman said: “Kent Police has commenced a murder investigation after a woman was found deceased near Birchington.

“Shortly after 7pm on Friday August 25 2023, officers attended the scene between St Nicholas At Wade and Minnis Bay.

“Formal identification has not yet taken place, however, the family of Claire Knights, a 54-year-old woman reported missing from Upstreet on Wednesday August 23, are aware.

“A post-mortem examination has been completed and Kent Police’s Major Crime Department has now launched a murder investigation.

“Claire’s vehicle, a silver Suzuki car, was recovered from 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.

“There will be an increased police presence in the area as searches by specialist officers and inquiries by a team of detectives continue.

“On Thursday August 24, a man in his 20s from Margate was arrested on suspicion of murder. He has since been detained for assessment by medical professionals.”