Man held on suspicion of 2003 murder of mother living rough

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Detectives searching for a Halifax woman who has been missing for almost nine years have arrested a man on suspicion of her murder.

The development comes after police this week made a fresh appeal for help in tracing Lisa Ambler and after officers carried out searches at a number of locations in and around Halifax.

Police say they will continue their search for the mother of two who vanished in August 2003.

This week officers have been seen combing railway arches just off Berry Lane, Halifax, and divers were searching the canal basin at Salterhebble.

Ms Ambler’s family have not heard from her since the day she went missing and there have been no confirmed sightings of her.

Last night detectives confirmed that they had arrested a Halifax man on suspicion of murder as they again appealed for anyone with any information to come forward.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: “Following the continued search for missing Halifax woman Lisa Ambler, police have today arrested a 38-year-old man from the Halifax area on suspicion of murder.

“The search for Lisa continues.”

Earlier this week detectives made a fresh appeal for help to try to find some answers for her family who have had to endure not knowing what has happened to their loved one for almost nine years.

Ms Ambler was 34 when she was last seen in Halifax town centre on Thursday, August 14, 2003. She would now be 43.

The mother of two was sleeping rough at the time, living with her boyfriend of four years in a tent on Southowram Bank.

He was the last person to see her, after they parted company in the town centre, and reported her missing to police.

Specialist teams were brought in to help the search in the following days and numerous inquiries have been made over the years to trace her, but so far they have been unsuccessful.

Since she disappeared family members and friends have been left having to mark birthdays and Christmases without knowing where she is and police are keen to be able to find them some closure.

Ms Ambler had two children – now both in their 20s – and is one of eight sisters and five brothers. Her mother died two years ago not knowing what happened to her daughter.

Detectives from West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team (HMET) launched their latest inquiry following an extensive review of the case and in response to recent information.

Speaking earlier this week, Det Insp Steve Snow, from HMET, said: “Cases of this nature are always subject of an ongoing review process. Extensive inquiries have been made over the years and although eight years have passed since Lisa went missing, we continue to seek the vital pieces of information that could lead us to her.

“It cannot be discounted that after all this time Lisa may well have come to some harm or sadly be dead. However we cannot in anyway confirm this and, in order to bring some closure for her family, we will continue to explore all opportunities which may help us find her.”

He added: “Lisa’s disappearance continues to be an open investigation. Inquiries like this are never forgotten about and are always subject to continual review.”

The detective added: “Lisa lived quite a chaotic lifestyle and was sleeping rough at the time of her disappearance. Her family have not heard from her since the day she went missing and there have been no confirmed sightings.

“With the passage of time someone who was unable to come forward and speak to us then might be in a position to do so now. I would urge them to get in touch.”

Police are keen to speak to anyone with any information and urged anyone who may know what had happened to her to contact them.

The police spokesman added: “The search for Lisa continues and officers continue to appeal to anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or the police on 101 or the incident room on 01924 334771.”