Husband held over disappearance of Bafta-nominated make-up artist

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The Independent Online

The husband of Diane Chenery-Wickens, the Bafta-nominated make-up artist who has been missing since last week, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of her murder.

Mrs Chenery-Wickens, 48, who has worked on some of the biggest shows on television in the past 20 years, has not been seen since she boarded a train at East Grinstead, West Sussex, to meet BBC bosses in London nine days ago. Her husband, David Chenery-Wickens, 51, by arrested by officers from Sussex Police, the force leading the investigation.

A police spokeswoman said: "Sussex Police officers investigating the disappearance of Diane Chenery-Wickens from Duddleswell, near Crowborough, have arrested a man on suspicion of her murder."

The spokesman said that the man, from East Sussex, was in custody at Eastbourne and was due to be interviewed last night. Police have yet to find a body in what is now a murder inquiry. Meanwhile, Mrs Chenery-Wickens's brother, Russell Wickens, 50, who has previously said that his sister's disappearance was "uncharacteristic", spoke briefly yesterday about the development in the case.

He said: "I'm in such shock by the whole thing that I can't honestly talk about how I feel at this recent news. As far as myself and my parents were concerned this was being treated as a missing person case. Until they told us about the arrest we had no idea it was a murder inquiry. Of course I'm shocked; it's my sister we are talking about."

Last Thursday, Mrs Chenery-Wickens and her husband had travelled to London, where she was due to meet BBC bosses.

Mr Chenery-Wickens, in a public appeal this week, said he had last seen his wife that day at Kensington Olympia Tube station, west London, when she had left him to go to her meeting. The pair were due to meet up at Bloww hairdressers in Soho later in the day, but she did not turn up.

Mr Chenery-Wickens called the Metropolitan Police and reported his wife missing. He told officers she was wearing a brown suede jacket, brown calf-length boots, blue jeans and a black scarf. He added that he had tried calling her on his mobile phone but on each occasion it went to straight to voicemail. He also said he had phoned his wife's friends and colleagues before calling the police and returning home alone.

Mrs Chenery-Wickens has worked for 20 years in the hair and make-up industry. After training at the BBC she went on to work on popular television shows including The League Of Gentlemen, Casualty, Pride And Prejudice and Dead Ringers.

In 2000, she won an Emmy for her work on Arabian Nights and in 2003, she was nominated for a Bafta in the make-up and hair design category for her work on Dead Ringers, missing out to an artist on Little Britain. Earlier this week the impressionist Jon Culshaw, who worked with Mrs Chenery-Wickens on Dead Ringers, said her disappearance was concerning.

He said: "We knew her really well. She has been the make-up artist on our show for about five years. We spend a lot of time together and she is a really, really lovely woman, really organised.

"It's just so out of character, which makes it all the more concerning and bewildering. You just hope that somewhere there is one of those sensible explanations to this."