We'll not give up on Kate...

We'll not give up on Kate...
The Citizen
16 May 2008

Today police are heading back to Redmarley to question villagers again over the suspected murder of a farmer's wife.

Anxious to turn up the vital clue which could locate missing Kate Prout, officers are spending the next three days quizzing residents.

It comes as we publish a picture of Mrs Prout (nee Wakefield) on the day she married Adrian Prout.

The picture, which appeared in The Citizen on November 9, 2000, portrays a country couple about to make a fresh start in life as they pose for the camera at the entrance of St Mary's Church, Frampton-on-Severn.

But just over seven years after this picture was taken, Mrs Prout vanished - sparking a massive police hunt which left a cloud of suspicion over Redmarley, in the Forest.

They believe the most likely explanation for her disappearance is that she was murdered.

Acting Detective Superintendent Neil Kelly, said: "We are going to give people in the village a chance to know we are coming, rather than turn up on their doorstep.

"We are firmly following a number of lines of inquiry. It's worth saying again that 30 people are still committed to the investigation.

"We are not winding down."

She was last heard of on November 5, 2007 and reported missing five days later by Mr Prout, 45.

She took no money, cash cards, clothes, or a car from their Redhill Farm home when she disappeared.

Around 200 acres of farmland around their £1.2 million property was scoured by more than 50 officers - but nothing was found.

They emptied a grain store, went through a pile of bark chippings, dived in ponds and a reservoir.

Even Eddie, the specialist sniffer "cadaver dog" who took part in the search for Madeleine McCann, could not find any trace of her. (***Blogger note: Eddie found cadaver scent in Prout home. In November 2011, Adrian Prout confessed to murdering Kate.)

An impassioned plea for information from one of her brothers, Richard Wakefield, from Far Oakridge, Stroud, drew no new clues.

Mr Prout ran a groundworks company and more recently pheasant shoots, and residents in Cam and Dursley, where water pipes were laid, have also been questioned.

One villager claimed residents told police that shortly before Mrs Prout's disappearance, the couple argued in the Rose and Crown pub in the village, and were planning to divorce and split the farm.

Twice Mr Prout has been arrested on suspicion of murder, held and questioned. And twice he has been released. He is on bail until September 9.

Three other people - Diane Bellamy, 48, from Bisley, Rose and Crown landlord Eric Woolley, 60, and a 43-year-old man, from Lydney, have been arrested, questioned and released without charge. Their bail has been cancelled.

Earlier this month the officer in charge of the case, acting detective superintendent Neil Kelly, announced in an open letter to the residents of Redmarley that his officers would be heading back to re-interview them, as some believed Mrs Prout had disappeared of her own volition.

He believes all the available evidence points to her being murdered.

And he told The Citizen that although they have not given up on finding Mrs Prout, the force would consider a prosecution without a body.

Today, and over the weekend, police will knock on doors again in Redmarley, a day later than originally planned.

Few in the village knew the couple well but she helped with flower arranging in the Redmarley church and enjoyed walking her dogs around Redhill Farm.

A retired teacher of 20 years' standing, she enjoyed gardening and was propagating a blueberry plantation on the farm.

But at the beginning of November, her seemingly peaceful rural existence came to an abrupt halt.

She was said to be happy and showed no signs of anything amiss when she visited Mr Wakefield and his wife Linda on November 2. She spoke to her again on November 5.

Police say the last time they knew she was alive was at 3.30pm on that day, when she spoke to her bank.

Her disappearance has left villagers confused and concerned.

"We are just wondering what extra we can say," said one villager, who did not wish to be named.

"But as time goes by, it just melts into the background.

"We have no problems with the police coming back if it brings a solution to the problem.

"The village itself is just in limbo.

"We would really like to know, one way or the other, what has happened.

"The farm is working, Mr Prout is keeping going - that's his right, it's his livelihood."

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