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Two held in Becky 'murder' probe

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of murdering missing 16-year-old Becky Watts, Avon and Somerset Police said.

The teenager was last seen at her house in Crown Hill in St George, Bristol on the morning of February 19.

A 28-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were arrested on Saturday on suspicion of her kidnap. They were further arrested on suspicion of her murder today, police said.

Becky left home with her phone, laptop and tablet computer but did not tell friends or family where she was going, or take extra clothing.

Police have been searching for the teenager since she was reported missing by her family at 4pm on February 20.

Detective Superintendent Mike Courtiour told reporters: " On Saturday afternoon we arrested two people in connection with the Becky Watts missing person investigation.

"A 28-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were arrested on Saturday on suspicion of the kidnap of Rebecca Watts. This afternoon, they have been further arrested on suspicion of the murder of Rebecca Watts. Both are still in police custody at this time.

"This morning, a district judge granted us a warrant of further detention which gives us a further 36 hours to question these two individuals.

"In the meantime, our search for Becky continues unabated.

"We are drawing upon all possible resources to help us. Additional officers from Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Devon and Cornwall and police dogs from South Wales Police have been drafted in and support from the police helicopter.

"Search and missing persons experts from the National Crime Agency, College of Policing and the national missing persons organisations continue to work with our inquiry team."

He said police had extended searches to include a house in Southmead and one in the Barton Hill area of Bristol.

"These are detailed forensic searches which will take some time to complete.

"We continue to carry out both open land searches and detailed house-to-house inquiries in the local area.

"We have also conducted extensive CCTV inquiries and detailed analysis of traffic cameras in the area."

He appealed for anyone who might have information on the case to come forward immediately.

"Someone out there might have vital information which could help us find Becky.

"This morning, we published an appeal for information from anyone who may have seen a black Vauxhall Zafira, registration number HY06 HYA, in the local area any time between the morning of Thursday 19 February to Monday 23 February.

"We have seized this car but we need the public's help in tracing where it might have been during those key days."

He thanked local communities who had supported the investigation and asked that any public searches planned for the next few days were co-ordinated through police.

He said the hashtag FindBecky had reached thousands of people and the total reach for the social media campaign had been more than four million people worldwide.

"Becky's family are understandably distraught and we are working closely with them to support them at this difficult time.

"Finally, I would like to repeat our plea for anyone who has any information regarding this investigation to contact us immediately.

"You can call us on 101, leave information anonymously with CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111, or use our online reporting tool on our website."

Police said earlier in relation to the Vauxhall Zafira that they were keen to piece together where it had been.

A spokesman said: "The critical time period is from the morning of Thursday February 19 until Monday February 23. We are, however, keen to speak to anyone who saw this vehicle in the days either side of this.

"We also need to speak to any previous owners of this vehicle. If you have owned this car in the last few years, we need to speak to you as a matter of urgency."

The force is now running six specialist search teams each day. Local parks and a nature reserve have been combed, divers have searched a lake, and three homes, including Becky's, are being examined.

Police have intensified their search within a 2km (1.24 mile) radius of Becky's home.

Speaking at the weekend, Becky's father Darren Galsworthy and stepmother Angie-Mae Galsworthy said they would "prepare ourselves for the worst".

"Rebecca has still not been found," they said in a statement issued through Avon and Somerset Police.

"We continue to hope that she will be found safe and unharmed but we will prepare ourselves for the worst.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has assisted in the search for Becky and for the messages of support.

"We continue to work with the police to bring their investigation to a successful conclusion and we would like to ask members of the public to continue to report anything, however small, if they think it may help to find Becky."

Mr Galsworthy told ITV News that his family "need closure".

"It's an absolute hell on earth nightmare that seems to be going on and on forever," he said. "We just need closure, we want it all to go away, get everything back to normal, get my little girl home."

Forensics officers dressed in white protective suits and blue footwear were seen leaving the family home carrying a large barrel-shaped object.

A second address in Cotton Mill Lane, in the Barton Hill area of the city, has also been searched after police cordoned off the street.

Many of the houses in the residential street have "Find Becky" posters in their front windows.

One woman neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said of the people who live in the house: "Nobody really knows who they are. They pretty much kept themselves to themselves. I couldn't tell you anything about them.

"I wouldn't be surprised if no one knows anything - they are very quiet."

Hundreds of members of the public have attended searches for Becky, with one on Saturday yielding a laptop which was handed in to police.

Officers have since established that it is not related to the missing teenager.

Hundreds of leaflets have been printed and a social media campaign, using the hashtag #FindBecky, has gained thousands of hits.

More than 400,000 people have viewed tweets, with 22,000 engaging with them by retweeting, favouriting or clicking on them.

At least two million people around the world have seen a campaign on Facebook, with tens of thousands of shares including in Goa, New Zealand and America.

Facebook Ads has been used to target people in the Bristol area, reaching more than 21,000 and directing hundreds to the #FindBecky page on the force website.

Becky is described as 5ft 4in and slim, with long, bright red hair, and she was wearing a dark navy blue Puffa jacket with fabric sleeves.

Answering questions from reporters gathered at St George's Park, Mr Courtiour said he was not able to give details of who was in custody, whether they knew each other or whether they knew Becky because the investigation was at "such a critical stage".

"I am not in a position to discuss in any detail the investigative actions that we are now taking. This is a very sensitive investigation and I am not in a position to give you any further information and the identity of those in custody," he said.

"We cannot say where Becky is and we are still searching. There is sufficient information available to us to justify the arrests of those people in custody.

"However, the search for Becky continues. We are still actively looking for Becky. "We have family liaison officers who have spoken to the immediate family this afternoon and I understand the family are very distraught."

Mr Courtiour said he was unable to discuss the current ownership of the black Vauxhall Zafira but repeated appeals for sightings of it.

"I cannot comment on the current ownership of the vehicle other than to say it is of critical significance and to repeat the appeal in relation to where it was, who may have had it at the time and who may have seen it," he said.

The teenager's uncle Sam Galsworthy said no one on her father Darren's side had any connection to her disappearance.

Seeking to end speculation and rumour, he told ITV News: "We want to make it absolutely clear that no member of Darren's side of the family are implicated in any way.

"Every family member who was part of our search for Rebecca still remains with us.

"We are aware that this is an ongoing investigation and cannot say any more.

"We can't thank the public enough for their support. Please respect our privacy now as we process this information.

"Either way, we still want her home and we will continue our search for Rebecca."


From Belfast Telegraph