A successful businesswoman who disappeared in mysterious circumstances three months ago may have led a secret double life as an escort, detectives believe.
Carole Waugh, 50, last spoke to members of her family in April. There are concerns that she has been abducted by members of a gang who have stolen her identity and sought to empty her bank accounts and sell her central London flat.
Officers were at the flat in the Marylebone district of the city this week as part of a trawl of her private life amid mounting evidence that she operated as an escort from the £675,000 property in a sideline that she apparently kept secret from family members.
"We know that Carole has known a number of men through a variety of internet sites, which include dating sites," said Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane. "Prostitution is a line of inquiry that we are pursuing."
He said that there had been a number of men in contact with her but who had not contacted police. He said they needed to come forward and information would be treated in confidence.
Detectives have been trying to contact members from her circle of friends and anyone who may have met her over the past few years after it emerged that thousands of pounds had been removed from her accounts.
She last spoke to her family on 13 April with the first suspicious financial activity on her accounts starting later that month.
Since then at least three women have sought to impersonate her and a man pretending to be her brother brazenly walked into an estate agency and sought to sell her flat.
A man was arrested yesterday who had been pictured on security footage released by police on Thursday. The footage apparently showed the man escorting an accomplice to a cash machine at a Sainsbury's store in Enfield in July where Ms Waugh's card was used to withdraw money.
The man went to a north London police station and was being questioned in connection with Ms Waugh's disappearance.
He was the ninth person to be arrested including one man who has appeared in court over the case.
Ms Waugh, described by her family as private, determined and frugal, returned from Libya in 2008 where she worked as an executive for an oil company. She had taken a series of short-contract jobs but had not needed to work full-time.
Her brother, Chris, 53, a bank manager in Durham, described her as being tough and resourceful but said tha she often changed the subject when the topic of her private life came up. He said she was "very good at perhaps taking you off on a different topic".
He added: "So you had to just listen. What we know are just snippets of information that we've gathered over the years."
Mr Waugh said that his sister was "worldy-wise" and who loved going out with her friends. "Everybody's looking for Mr Right and I do think that was on sister's agenda. It was probably on my sister's agenda for many years."
She told her family when they last met in April that she was planning to go to Las Vegas with friends but police have yet to discover anyone who was set to accompany her on the trip.Reuse content