Dilemma over any potential prosecution

IPSWICH: Detectives were today due to resume questioning the boyfriend of an Ipswich woman on suspicion of murder after she did not return from their Spanish holiday.

The arrest came after a woman’s body was found in the sea off Gran Canaria. No formal identification has taken place.

Police have not released the identity of the man being questioned, but he has been named locally as Christopher Chittock whose partner, 23-year-old Sarah Shields, was reported missing on Sunday.

As part of their inquiry, officers spent yesterday at the flat they shared in Alnesbourn Crescent, Ipswich, as well as speaking to their neighbours.

Speaking to The Evening Star, a nearby resident said: “The police arrived on Tuesday evening and have been here ever since.

“They started by going inside the flat, but soon they were also looking through bushes and in bins.”

Detectives from Suffolk and Norfolk Constabulary’s major investigation team are also holding Mr Chittock on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

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No charges have been laid against the 36-year-old, although he remained in custody overnight.

Mr Chittock spent yesterday being quizzed at Ipswich police station after he was arrested on Tuesday evening.

During the afternoon, a lawyer from the Crown Prosecution Service went before magistrates in Ipswich on Suffolk Police’s behalf to successfully apply for an extension to Mr Chittock’s custody time limit.

Detectives can now hold him until 5am tomorrow before making a decision to release him without charge, bail him or prosecute him.

Mr Chittock and Miss Shields are believed to have moved into their flat in Ravenswood earlier this year. Previously, Miss Shields lived with her family in Ipswich.

Suffolk officers, led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Guy, are liaising with the Spanish authorities as the inquiry continues in both countries.

Emergency services rescued the lifeless body of a woman on a beach south of Gran Canaria last Wednesday.

The woman was found floating around 15 yards off the Playa de la Balito beach, near Mogan, on the holiday island’s south-west coast between 8.20am and 9.30am.

It is understood a German citizen called the authorities after seeing someone floating in the sea.

Rescue personnel responded and retrieved the body of a young woman from the water.

A boat transferred the body to the pier of Arguineguin, where emergency services confirmed the woman had died.

Spanish sources have quoted police as saying the body was showing “signs of violence”.

The paramilitary Civil Guard are now trying to establish if the woman is Miss Shields. An officer said they could say no more at this stage.

No post mortem has been carried out yet. However, the Spanish authorities are said to have carried out a medical examination, the results of which have not been revealed.

At this stage, no Suffolk detectives have been sent to Gran Canaria, although officers are in touch with their counterparts.

Yesterday afternoon, discussions were taking place over how formal identification would take place.

Richard Jones, a spokesman for Suffolk Police, said: “The Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Major Investigation Team have arrested a 36-year-old man from Ipswich on suspicion of murder and perverting the course of justice.”

A spokeswoman for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it would help where it could.

She said: “We are aware of this case and have been assisting both the UK and Spanish police with their investigations.”