Ely Garden Excavated Following Disappearence Of Landlady

Police investigating the disappearance of a woman from Ely, 17 years ago have begun excavating a garden.

Deborah Steel, former landlady of the Royal Standard Public House in Ely, Cambridgeshire, went missing on December 28 1997. The 37-year-old was last seen at about 1am.

Her body has never been found and mystery has surrounded her whereabouts.

Last week Cambridgeshire Police said they had arrested a 70-year-old man on suspicion of murder. He has since been released on bail.

Since the arrest, officers have been searching a property in the Longfields area of the city.

A force spokesman said: ``Following searches throughout the week and initial excavations on Friday, a digger was brought in on Saturday to carry out a deeper excavation.

``The work is continuing today and officers are keen to complete the work as soon as possible because they are aware of the inconvenience to the individual concerned.''

Speaking after the arrest, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Brunning said: ``I am convinced the answer to Deborah Steel's disappearance lies in Ely and that there are people in the city who can provide key information.

``I am appealing to anyone who may be able provide fresh information on this case to contact us.

``All information will be treated in confidence, and can be left anonymously.

``Deborah has not been seen for 17 years and her family deserve to know what happened to her.''

Anyone with any information should call 01480 425880 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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