A man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering missing woman – a decade after she vanished

·3-min read
Photo credit: Avon and Somerset Police
Photo credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A little over ten years ago, on 6 June 2012, 32-year-old Claire Holland, a mother of four, was last seen leaving a Bristol city centre pub, Seamus O'Donnells, at around 11:15pm. It was the day after the Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend. Heartbreakingly, nobody has seen or heard from her since.

Now, ten years on, detectives from the Avon and Somerset police force have made what they're calling a "significant development" in the case and have re-arrested a 40-year-old man on suspicion of murdering Claire. He was first detained in March of this year and now officers are searching another Bristol pub, the Barrelhouse in Clifton, after coming across "specific new information" (which is unrelated to the venue's current or past owners).

This same 40-year-old male was also arrested in connection with the case in 2019.

In a new press release about the case, Det Supt Darren Hannant said: "Today's operational activity marks a significant development in our investigation into Claire's disappearance, which we continue to treat as suspicious.

"We've entered a new phase in our enquiries and from today we’ll be carrying out a forensic-led search of a public house in Gordon Road, Clifton, due to specific new information we’ve received. It's important to reiterate this search activity has no connection with the current or previous owners of the venue."

Photo credit: Education Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Education Images - Getty Images

The officer continued on to say, "The searches at the pub may take several days to complete and officers from the Neighbourhood Policing team will be carrying out additional reassurance patrols in the area to answer any worries or concerns residents may have.

"Through our specialist family liaison officers, we're keeping Claire's family fully informed, as well as continuing to provide them with any help or support they need. In addition, we're urging anyone with information on Claire's disappearance, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to come forward and speak to us now. Use this opportunity to tell us what you know."

Speaking to ITV last year about how Claire's disappearance has impacted her, Claire's mother, Jackie Vaughan, described her daughter as "always smiling, happy and bubbly" and said her heart still skips a beat whenever somebody with a similar appearance walks past her in the street.

"If I see somebody who looks like Claire, I'll speed up to look to see if it's her. If I'm in town - because she always used to go into town - I think 'oh is that Claire?'. It never goes away," she said. "It's always there at the back of your mind. I'd love for her to knock on the door."

Claire's sister, Sarah, added, "We need answers as a family, her children need answers. They've had their mum taken away from them. We've all had significant events in our lives. She's got nieces and nephews she's never met. They want to meet their auntie. It's never been the same knowing that one person isn't there."

One of Claire's children, her daughter, Rosie Hall, said that growing up without her mother has left her feeling 'empty'. "The last time I saw her was before I went to school, we would walk to school. She pulled us aside and said let's sing 'ring-a-ring-a-roses' before school - that was a daily thing we would do but that's the last memory I had of her.

"It's nice to have the good memories, but you want more memories of your mum growing up."

If you have any information which could help in relation to Claire's disappearance, please call 101 and give the reference number 5219172645, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. They never ask for your name or trace your call.

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