Family of missing Manchester woman Rania Alayed appeal for information

Does a moorland road hold the vital clue to solving her death?

Traffic thunders at all hours of the day along the A19 as it skirts along the western fringes of the North York Moors en route to and from industrial Teesside.

Yet despite being in full view of passing motorists, police believe that a layby on a fast section of this busy road on the outskirts of the picturesque market town of Thirsk, North Yorkshire, holds the key to finding the body of Rania Alayed.

It is six months since the mother-of-three disappeared from her home in Manchester’s Cheetham Hill but her remains have never been found despite a massive operation involving two police forces, forensic experts and ground and air military search teams across a 19-mile stretch of road.

Yesterday the dead woman’s uncle laid a simple bouquet of flowers close to where detectives are convinced her body was hidden and subsequently moved – possibly in a large suitcase or a rolled up carpet - in the weeks between her disappearance and it being reported to police last summer.

Ali Aydi, originally from Syria had travelled from his home in Lebanon where Ms Alayed’s parents live to describe the anguish of the hunt and urged anyone with information that will help police find her remains to come forward.

He said her parents and children faced an uncertain future and wanted now to give her a dignified burial.

“Rania was taken from us six months ago when she was brutally murdered, in the most beautiful years of her life. She leaves behind three children who face life without her,” he added.

Ms Alayed’s husband, Ahmed Khatib, 33, and his brother Muhanned Mahmood Al Khatib, 38, have been charged with her murder. Another brother, Hussain Al Khatee, 34, has been charged with perverting the course of justice.

Meanwhile, an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation is underway into the handling of the case by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after it emerged that they had been made aware of allegations of violence against Ms Alayed prior to her going missing. They will also probe contacts between Cleveland police and officers in Greater Manchester.

Ms Alayed, who had previously lived in Middlesbrough, moved from her home in Norton in Stockton-On-Tees in January.  Former neighbours described her as a “canny lass”, polite but quiet and reserved. Her children used to play with friends in the street.

She was last seen in public in Salford on the evening of 7 June although was not reported missing until nearly a month later. Although her body has not been found, police believe she has been killed.

At the centre of the inquiry is a white Leyland DAF 200 camper van which is believed to have been used to transport her from Manchester back up to the North East and which it is suspected stopped at a layby on the northbound carriageway in the early hours of 8 June.

Some 350 motorists whose vehicles were in the area at the time have received letters from police whilst dozens of officers supported by the Royal Engineers, fly-pasts by RAF jets, police helicopter searches, forensic botanists and forensic archaeologists, ground-penetrating radar and specialist sniffer dogs, have excavated stopping areas.

Yet attempts to find her body have proved unsuccessful and the search was called off in September with detectives saying they would return only when they received information that could provide a more exact location.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Marsh, of GMP’s major incident team, speaking at the scene said the family had “understandably been desperate for answers”. "It took us three or four weeks before we knew Rania was dead from the time she was killed. We believe her body was brought here. The question I have got to ask is, 'has she been moved in that four-week period'” he said.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering