Boyfriend charged in holiday murder probe

DETECTIVES investigating the alleged murder of a Suffolk woman who went missing on holiday in the Canary Islands have accused her boyfriend of perverting the course of justice.

Christopher Chittock was charged yesterday as police confirmed the body of a woman found in the sea off Gran Canaria is that of 23-year-old Sarah Shields.

The 36-year-old engineer has been remanded in custody and was due to appear before magistrates in Ipswich this morning.

He has also been bailed on suspicion of her murder after being questioned by detectives for two days.

He is due to return to Ipswich police station at 10am on Wednesday, September 15 to answer his bail.

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The investigation was launched after Miss Shields was reported missing when she did not return from a two-week holiday with Chittock as expected on Sunday.

Police also continued their search of the couple’s flat in Alnesbourn Crescent in Ravenswood, where Chittock was arrested on Tuesday evening.

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Officers left the rented ground-floor flat yesterday afternoon. The couple had lived there since late March.

Chittock, who is separated, is said to have previously lived in Great Blakenham for around eight years.

Before that, he and his wife are understood to have lived in Barham, near Claydon.

Miss Shields, who worked for BOC on the Hadleigh Road industrial estate in Ipswich, had been at her family’s east Ipswich home until moving in with him.

Detectives have been looking into all aspects of Mr Chittock’s and Miss Shields’ relationship during their inquiry.

The confirmation that the body of Miss Shields, a former pupil of Ipswich’s Copleston High School, had been identified was released by police late yesterday afternoon.

It is believed fingerprints were used to make a positive identification. Other options considered, given the complications of inquiries running in two countries, were dental records and DNA.

Police have not said whether a post-mortem examination has been carried out yet. However, Spanish sources have reported the authorities in the Canary Islands as saying Miss Shields’ body showed “signs of violence”.

Police from both countries have been in constant touch and should anyone be prosecuted in relation to Miss Shields’ death, the question of jurisdiction will need to be resolved.

The likelihood is that any subsequent trial would be in Spanish jurisdiction and therefore an application for extradition would need to be made against anyone who is charged.

Anyone with any information which could help the police inquiry is asked to contact Detective Chief Inspector Andy Guy on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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