Claire Holland: Family plea over missing woman as searches continue

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Image source, Family photo
Image caption,
Claire Holland was 32 when she went missing in 2012

The sister of a woman missing since 2012 has pleaded with anyone who knows anything about what happened to her to come forward.

Police have begun a major search for Claire Holland, 32, of Lawrence Weston in Bristol, who was last seen leaving a city centre pub on 6 June 2012.

Her sister, Sarah Holland, said her sister's four children "need answers".

The lead detective said police hoped to find "closure" for the family but he suspected it was a murder inquiry.

Det Insp Darren Hannant said Avon and Somerset Police now had reason to believe the disappearance was "linked to a crime" and needed the public's help with the investigation.

Sarah Holland described her sister as "bubbly" and "very kind".

"She was a loyal sister, and very supportive when we were growing up," she said.

"She used to look after us, take us to school if mum was working and walk us home. She was very family orientated."

Image source, Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption,
Police have released new CCTV footage of Ms Holland on the night she disappeared
Image source, Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption,
CCTV footage captured Ms Holland heading to a pub where she spent some of the evening on 6 June 2012

She said her sister had been rebuilding her relationship with her family when she disappeared.

In the nine years since, she said it was "hard" not knowing what had happened.

"I don't think you can explain what that feels like unless you are in that situation," she said.

Image caption,
Sarah Holland said her family needed answers about what had happened to her sister

"If someone knows anything, even the smallest thing they might think is significant, just inform the police.

"We'd like to know. We'd like to know if she's alive, or her whereabouts - anything that can give us some comfort, some closure.

"Her children need some answers. They've had their mum taken away from them.

"She's got nieces and nephews that she's never met, there have been family marriages and it's not the same knowing that one person isn't there."

Walking to pub

Det Insp Hannant said: "We don't have Claire, we don't have a body, so we're not sure that she's dead but that's what I strongly suspect, that it is a murder inquiry.

"Part of our mission is closure for the family in relation to finding Claire."

Police have said her disappearance was first treated as suspicious in 2019, when a 37-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of her murder. Now 39, he remains released under investigation.

The force has released CCTV footage from 6 June 2012, the day Ms Holland went missing. It shows her walking through the city centre towards the Seamus O'Donnell's pub.

Image caption,
Police have begun searching Castle Park in Bristol

Officers are keen to hear from anyone who saw her in the pub, or in the city afterwards.

Specialist dive teams have joined searches in and around Bristol as part of the investigation. Police teams were searching Castle Park in the city centre on Tuesday.

Det Insp Hannant asked the public to "cast their minds back" to the weekend of 2-5 June in 2012, the days before Ms Holland went missing.

There was an extended bank holiday in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Detectives wish to hear from anyone who was in Seamus O'Donnell's on the night Ms Holland went missing
Image caption,
Police officers searching in the Castle Park area of Bristol

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