Police halt search for retired officer after body found

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POLICE have called off a search operation for a retired officer, who walked out of Harrogate District Hospital nearly two weeks ago, after the discovery of a body.

Around 100 North Yorkshire Police officers and volunteers had been searching for Graham Roskell, 65, who was last seen at 8am on November 3 in the hospital where he was being treated for an illness that had spread to his brain, causing confusion.

His family had issued an emotional appeal to trace the whereabouts of the grandfather, from nearby Kirk Hammerton, while police had urged farmers and residents to check outbuildings throughout the area.

But at around 11.40am yesterday, a body was found by a member of the public in a wooded area off York Road, Wetherby.

A police spokesman said last night that Mr Roskell’s family had been informed and was being supported by specially trained officers.

Formal identification of the body will take place in due course.

Superintendent Aubrey Smith, the Harrogate safer neighbourhood commander, said: “My thoughts and indeed those of everyone at North Yorkshire Police are with Mr Roskell’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time.

“The past 11 days have been very traumatic for them. I would like to thank everyone, particularly all the members of the public and volunteers who have supported the search, for their hard work and dedication during the efforts to locate Mr Roskell.”

Around 50 police officers were involved in the search, including the regional underwater search team, air support, dog units and specialist North Yorkshire teams.

They were joined by a further 50 volunteers including local and international mountain rescue teams.

It was believed Mr Roskell, who had survival training, may have been camping out and that his brain illness made him afraid of being found.