A man has admitted to police that he killed a woman who went missing 14 years ago after setting off to visit a friend in Huddersfield.
Martin Bell, who was arrested in Scarborough last week, appeared over a video link from Hull prison to Leeds Crown Court today accused of murdering Gemma Simpson, 23 from Harehills, Leeds who vanished after setting off to catch a bus.
Ian Cook representing Bell told the court his client had made a “full and frank admission to unlawfully killing her in interview to the police.”
He said Bell, 44, had a psychiatric history and the issues in the case were likely to be “diminished responsibility or provocation.”
That killing had happened in Harrogate and he said: “Inquiries are ongoing to locate the body.”
Bell, recently of St Leonard’s Crescent, Scarborough is accused of murdering Gemma between May 4 and June 3, 2000 at a flat in Knaresborough Road, Harrogate.
The case was before Leeds Crown Court because magistrates have no powers to consider bail in murder cases. Bell appeared before magistrates in York on Saturday.
Mr Cook told the court there was no bail application being made on his behalf. Bell wearing a grey sweatshirt spoke only twice to confirm his identity and that he could hear proceedings over the link.
The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC remanded him in custody until July 22 for a preliminary hearing at which the timetable for his case will be set.
He told Bell that after consultation with the Presiding judge for the North Eastern Circuit he also hoped to set a trial date at that time.
The court heard custody time limits expire for Bell on January 9 next year.
Gemma vanished after telling a friend she was catching a bus into Leeds City centre in May 2000.
Det Chief Insp Adrian Taylor from West Yorkshire Police said later: “Officers from West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire have conducted a preliminary examination of a potential scene in the general vicinity of Brimham Rocks near Harrogate. Gemma’s family have been told about this development and are being kept fully informed.”
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