Man held over murdered mother-to-be

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The Independent Online

A 26-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering teenage mother-to-be Nikitta Grender, police confirmed today.

The 19-year-old was discovered stabbed to death at her burnt out flat in Broadmead Park, Liswerry, Newport, south Wales, on Saturday morning.

The murder suspect is not from the Broadmead Park or the nearby Moorland Park or Pontfaen areas of Newport, Gwent Police said.

"Officers investigating the murder of 19-year-old Nikitta Grender have arrested a 26-year-old man from the Newport area on suspicion of murder. He is currently in custody at this time," a Gwent Police statement said.

"The 26-year-old man is not from the Broadmead Park area, Moorland Park or Pontfaen areas.

"Officers remain at the scene. Searches are continuing in and around the estate. Officers are searching six premises across the city as part of the investigation. House to house inquiries are continuing and forensic analysis is also continuing."

The heavily pregnant teenager was due to give birth in two weeks to a baby girl who had already been named Kelsey-May.

She moved to the flat with boyfriend Ryan Mayes, 18, about six months ago and the couple had already decorated a room in preparation for the baby.

Her violent death from two stab wounds was greeted with deep shock and anger in the community.

Neighbours sobbed at what at first appeared to be a tragic fire death but feelings rapidly turned to anger when police revealed she was murdered.

One angry neighbour warned that vigilante-style justice was a possibility if the police failed to make progress quickly.

Gwent Police were at pains today to underline the extent of the continuing operation on the estate.

"Joint neighbourhood patrols with community safety wardens are continuing today, the mobile police office remains on the estate, police are also distributing leaflets and are using Bluetooth technology to appeal to residents in the vicinity of Broadmead Park," a spokesman said.

"Officers are continuing to appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

"Specifically they are appealing for anyone with CCTV in the Broadmead Park, Moorland Park and Pontfaen areas to come forward and for anyone who knew Nikitta or had been to her flat to come forward as they may have vital information."

Today's arrest comes after Miss Grender's parents, Paul and Marcia, spoke of their anguish as they made a public appeal for information.

Mr Mayes also paid his own poignant Facebook tribute to his partner and unborn child yesterday.

"Heya my angels hope your ok. you meant the world to me and the bbey would have," he wrote.

"You were the best thing ever created. i missed speaking to u this mrnin and giving u a kiss. i wish i cud be with u nw. My heart has been ripped open i love u bbey and kelc. 4 ever i promise. XXX"

A major incident team of 50 officers was continuing to work on the estate today.

Detective Superintendent Geoff Ronayne, who is leading the inquiry, said: "We are continuing with the investigation today and we have many lines of inquiry to follow.

"We are continuing to appeal for information from the communities of Broadmead Park, Moorland Park and Pontfaen, specifically for private CCTV outside their addresses which could be really helpful to the investigation.

"We also want any friends of Nikitta's, anyone in her circle of friends or anyone who has been to her flat to contact us.

"Anyone with information can contact us in the major incident room on 01443 865562 or alternatively call 01633 838111 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111."

Superintendent Dave Johnson urged surrounding communities to continue offering help and co-operation.

"We have received 58 calls from members of the public so far in the investigation and we would urge this to continue," he said.

"We understand there is strong feeling in the area but the best way to help police is to speak to us, not to speculate, and give us as much information as possible so we can continue with the investigation.

"We would urge people with any information or concerns to speak to officers at the scene."

Gwent Police have confirmed that two knives have been recovered in the on-going search of the estate where Miss Grender was murdered.

"A number of items have been recovered, among them two knives," a spokeswoman said.

She added that all the items had been sent for forensic examination by experts.