Missing girl: man held after body found

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A MAN was being questioned in connection with the murder of a missing three-year-old Cleveland girl this morning after police officers found the body of a child near her home.

Rosie Palmer disappeared on Thursday after going to an ice- cream van near her home in Henrietta Street, Hartlepool. Last night, police officers arrested a Hartlepool man after finding a body in a house in nearby Frederic Street. It is believed the body was found behind a bath panel.

Detective Superintendent Doug Smith, who has led the hunt for Rosie, said early today: 'At 8.15pm on Sunday the body of a little girl was found in Flat 51 of Frederic Street, Hartlepool.

'As a result, a 32-year-old single man has been arrested and is being interviewed in connection with the murder of Rosie Palmer.

'A Home Office forensic pathologist is to carry out a post-mortem and forensic examination of the body. At this time no formal identification has been made.'

Police confirmed Rosie's family had been contacted in an attempt to identify the body. It is understood that her father, Martin, was taken to the house where the body was discovered. A hostile crowd which gathered outside the house dispersed after Rosie's mother, Beverley, appealed for calm.

Police went to Frederic Street at about 7.30pm and a man was arrested after he ran from a house and was captured by officers with dogs. Neighbours said he moved to the area recently and is said to come from Peterlee, Co Durham.