Why did Gaynor Lord leave work early? Why did she call her friend?

Why did Gaynor Lord leave work early? Why did she call her friend… and what happened in the missing 34 minutes? All the unanswered questions as body is found in hunt for missing mother-of-three

It’s been exactly a week since Gaynor Lord disappeared in Norwich, sparking a huge police search operation involving specialist divers and underwater drones.

The married mother-of-three left work on Friday afternoon, hurried through the city centre, called her friend twice and spent over 30 minutes at Norwich Cathedral in a series of events which police described as ‘out of character’.

On Friday morning, Norfolk Police confirmed that a body had been recovered from the River Wensum. Officers said although the body has not been formally identified, Mrs Lord’s family have been informed and are being supported.

The police force have spent several days scouring the River Wensum and Wensum Park, where Mrs Lord’s belongings were found seven days ago.

MailOnline looks at all the unanswered questions below…

Gaynor Lord (pictured) walked out of her workplace over an hour before her shift was due to end 

This timeline shows what we know so far about how Gaynor Lord’s disappearance unfolded

Police divers today found a body in the river, marking the location with an orange buoy before retrieving it from the water. Formal identification has not taken place, but Mrs Lord’s family have been informed

What happened to her possessions?

Gaynor Lord’s belongings were found in Wensum Park by a member of the public – and she was identified by ID found in her handbag at the scene.

The clothes that she had been wearing when she went missing, including a white shirt, yellow tank top plus two rings and her mobile phone and glasses, were found in the park in various locations. 

READ MORE – Gaynor Lord police say she did not meet anyone before she vanished: Officers rule out ‘third party involvement’ but say they are ‘keeping an open mind’ as body is found in Norwich river in hunt for missing mother-of-three 

Her olive-coloured coat was discovered in the River Wensum, which runs through the park. 

One eye-witness, Rosie Richards said she saw a woman fitting Mrs Lord’s description in the park and described her as appearing ‘quite calm’.

But Ms Richards, who lives nearby, claimed something ‘just seemed a bit off’ because it was getting dark at the time around 4pm.

She recalled: ‘To me she seemed quite calm. She was sort of putting her coat down on the floor and sort of performing a yoga pose. It just seemed a bit off at this time because obviously it was starting to get dark.’

She added: ‘It’s really upsetting. I’m thinking of her friends and family because she is a similar age to my mum and that would be awful to be going through what they are going through now.’

Why did she leave work early?

Gaynor Lord  was supposed to finish a shift at the Bullards Gin concession in the upmarket Jarrolds department store at 4pm but she was filmed leaving an hour and a quarter early.

Police yesterday revealed that they had ‘some indications’ of why missing Mrs Lord left the department store where she worked at 2.45pm when she was set to finish at 4pm – over an hour later.

Chief Superintendent Dave Buckley said: ‘We’ve got some indications as to why she behaved the way in which she did but what we’re doing is we’re just working backwards now to actually truly understand what may have taken place.

‘We’re just cautious of everything we know at the moment because clearly we’ve ended up in the situation we have which is not usual.

‘I don’t think any of the conversations we’ve had are completely informing us as to why her state of mind ended up being what it was.’

FRIDAY 2.44pm – CCTV issued by Norfolk Police of missing Gaynor Lord leaving work at the Bullards Gin counter in the basement at Jarrolds department store in Norwich on December 8

FRIDAY 2.47pm – Gaynor Lord is seen in Norwich walking along London Street past Cosy Club 

FRIDAY 2.48pm – Gaynor Lord makes her way onto Queens Street before crossing into Tombland and walking towards Norwich Cathedral 

FRIDAY 3.22pm – Gaynor Lord is seen leaving the Cathedral grounds about 30 minutes later. At 3.49pm she is spotted on CCTV near the Playhouse on St George’s Street before walking along St Crispins Road towards Pitt Street

FRIDAY 4.01pm – A CCTV video shows Gaynor Lord walking along St Augustine’s Street in Norwich last Friday

Why did she go to Norwich Cathedral?

Police do not believe she met anyone at the cathedral and they don’t know if she’s religious.

Chief Superintendent Buckley said: ‘There is nothing to suggest from that period of time that she’s in the cathedral, that she’s had any contact with a third person.’

Around three minutes after leaving work, Mrs Lord is seen making her way in to the cathedral grounds.

The CCTV footage shows Mrs Lord walking into Cathedral Close, then spending around half an hour in its precincts, where it’s thought she used the public lavatory beneath the Refectory cafe. 

But then there is a gap in the CCTV footage that police have released so far.

It continues at 3.22pm when Ms Lord is seen putting her coat on and leaving the grounds a minute later.

She retraced her steps back onto Queens Street and continued to walk along St George’s Street at 3.49pm past Norwich Playhouse before ending up on St Augustines Street just over 10 minutes later.

The entrance to Norwich Cathedral, where Gaynor Lord was seen walking, as police continue the search for the mother of three who was last seen on Friday afternoon last week

What happened in the missing 34 minutes?

Mrs Lord is seen walking into London Street at 2.47pm and then crossing the road in Queen Street without waiting for a red light, narrowly missing moving traffic, as she heads towards Norwich Cathedral.

She left the cathedral grounds just over 30 minutes later, again appearing to be in a hurry, putting her coat on as she marched away. 

Police do not know what happened during the 34 minutes and asked for the public to help fill this gap.

Supt Wes Hornigold said: ‘It’s not clear where she goes inside the cathedral grounds during this time so we’re keen to hear from anyone who may have seen her there.’

Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich, said on Wednesday that prayers were being ‘offered here for the safety of missing Norwich woman Gaynor Lord, for her family and friends, and the emergency services who are searching for her.’

Why did she go to Wensum Park?

The final CCTV released shows Mrs Lord walking up St Augustines Street towards Wensum Park at 4.01pm.

Some four hours later, a member of the public reported finding belongings in the park, which police identified as Mrs Lord’s.

After visiting her house, they realised that the park was not park of her normal route home, raising questions as to why she had ventured in that direction.

Wensum Park has been closed off to the public since Saturday as specialist teams carried out extensive searches of the land and water. 

Searches have been carried out in the River Wensum with assistance from the constabulary’s Marine Unit, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and the Coastguard. 

A tent was set up in Wensum Park after Mrs Lord’s belongings were found nearby

Police vehicles seen at the bank of the River Wensum in Norwich on Friday

Was she behaving ‘out of character’?

Police have described Mrs Lord’s behaviour as ‘out of character’ and admitted they haven’t been able to establish her state of mind the day she vanished.

Chief Superintendent Buckley said: ‘Anybody who’s missing in these circumstances is vulnerable.

‘In this particular case, we’ve got a lady whose disappearance is out of character, it’s now been quite a considerable amount of time since she was seen alive. That makes her vulnerable.’ 

Officers previously said there was a “high probability” that Mrs Lord went into the River Wensum in Norwich, where a search was being conducted by the specialist dive team.

Police have described Mrs Lord’s (pictured) behaviour as ‘out of character’ and admitted they haven’t been able to establish her state of mind the day she vanished 

At about 12pm, officers could be seen recovering a body from the river in a black bag.

The discovery came after the orange buoy was positioned about 100 metres down stream from where the focus of the search had been the day before.

Why did she call her friend?

A friend of Mrs Lord told Sky News that she missed a phone call from her minutes before the last sighting on CCTV,

The first call to Julie Butcher came through at around 2.37pm – just moments before Mrs Lord left work early. A second came through at 4.15pm, 14 minutes after the last CCTV footage.

Explaining the first call, Ms Butcher said: ‘I answered the call and said ‘who is it?’ and she said ‘it’s Gaynor’,’

‘Then my phone rang and it was one of my clients, so I said to Gaynor can I call you back and she said ‘yes’.

‘I rang her back and then she didn’t answer, so I called her again and left a message, and then I messaged her on WhatsApp.’

She believes the second call was a ‘pocket call’ and that it sounded as though she was walking along. 

Ms Butcher also revealed she had shared ‘gins and hugs’ with Mrs Lord just days before and the pair agreed to play tennis together after Christmas.

Did she meet anyone else? 

Police have said that there is ‘no evidence of third party involvement’ in the case of Mrs Lord.

Chief superintendent Dave Buckley said that the case remains a missing person’s inquiry and they do not believe she met anyone on the way to Wensum Park, where her belongings were found exactly a week ago.

He told reporters: ‘We remain open-minded to the circumstances of Gaynor’s disappearance, and we’ll continue to pursue all lines of inquiry to ascertain why she went missing. 

‘I’m keen to say this remains a missing person inquiry at this stage.

‘I am also satisfied at the moment, based on the evidence that we have, that Gaynor did not meet anyone on the way to the park, and we now have a better understanding of her movements through the city centre.’

The officer added: ‘I would reiterate at this stage that there is no evidence of third party involvement. Nothing in our inquiries have changed this position.’

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