Daughters' plea over missing mum

THE distraught daughters of a woman who has been missing for eight months and is feared murdered have made an emotional plea for information.Sandra Gant disappeared in Clacton on November 15 last year and has not been in contact with her family since.

By Annie Davidson

THE distraught daughters of a woman who has been missing for eight months and is feared murdered have made an emotional plea for information.

Sandra Gant disappeared in Clacton on November 15 last year and has not been in contact with her family since.

Essex Police have launched a murder inquiry although Mrs Gant's body has not been found.

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Yesterday her daughters Lauren, Carrie and Michaela Cheasley made an emotional plea for help in finding out what happened to their mother.

Mrs Gant's family prepared a statement which was due to be given by 17-year-old Lauren, but the teenager was too upset to read it out. Carrie, 26, fought back tears as she took over.

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She said: “We would like to appeal to anyone who may have information on our mum's disappearance in the late evening of November 15, 2003. She was last seen at an address in Hayes Road, Clacton.

“Our mum was a very particular woman who followed her own routine without fail; she had limited resources that could only meet her basic needs.

“Our mum disliked change and we know would never have 'upped and left.'

“We had a close relationship between us and never had secrets. We regularly saw our mum twice a week and she was a familiar face around Clacton town centre and could often be found at the benches near to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

“We miss her so much and need to know where she is and if she is ok.

“She has four children and four loving grandchildren, one of which she is yet to meet.

“Please help us in any way even if you feel it is trivial, it would mean a lot to us.

“The whole family is grief stricken. We need answers so that we can continue with our lives.”

The sisters said they realised something was wrong when they went to meet their mother on November 18 and she did not turn up.

They went to her home in Wellesley Road, Clacton, and established that she had not been seen since the previous Saturday night.

Carrie, of St Osyth, said: “We immediately knew something was wrong.”

They searched for their mother themselves as well as alerting police to her disappearance.

Officers were later able to establish that Mrs Gant, 48, was last seen at a flat in Hayes Road, Clacton, on November 15.

Michaela, 20, said Christmas without Mrs Gant had been difficult and added: “Not knowing is the worst part. If you knew she had been murdered or just gone off somewhere then somehow you would deal with that.”

Carrie added: “If she was dead we could lay her to rest and say goodbye but we can't say goodbye.

“Although 99% knows she is not with us any more the other 1% says how can you say goodbye when you don't know for sure.”

Detective Superintendent Gareth Wilson, of Essex Police's Major Investigations' Team (MIT) said the case was “frustrating” for everyone involved.

Officers have carried out 139 searches of premises and vehicles, taken 337 statements and carried out 900 separate actions in connection with the case.

Three people who had been arrested in connection with her disappearance were released without charge last month.

But police are no nearer to finding out what happened to Mrs Gant, who went missing exactly eight months ago today.

Det Sup Wilson said: “We can only hazard a guess at how traumatic the last eight months have been for the family, they are desperate to know what has happened to their mum.”

He said the inquiry team was keeping an open mind but looking at three options - that Mrs Gant had been murdered, that she may have gone missing intentionally or that she could have taken her own life.

He added: “The assistance her family has given us in building up a picture of her lifestyle and very particular nature does raise grave concerns in relation to what has happened to Sandra.

“Somebody holds the key to what has happened. If the worst has happened and she is no longer with us then we do need to get the answers that her family need.”

Det Supt Wilson said officers were still anxious to trace a man caught on CCTV footage in a Clacton off-licence who they believe may have information which could assist the inquiry.

Anyone with information should contact the MIT on 01206 762122 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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