A HAMPSHIRE man whose son and grandson were arrested on suspicion of murdering Gaia Pope has described the teenager’s death as “absolutely tragic”.

Greg Elsey, whose ex-wife Rosemary was also arrested on suspicion of murder, added: “My heart goes out to her family.”

The three have since been released from police investigations.

He spoke out after a body, believed to be that of 19-year-old Gaia was found near Swanage, Dorset, on Saturday - 11 days after she went missing.

Mr Elsey criticised detectives involved in the investigation, accusing them of a witch-hunt against his family.

He spoke out after 71-year-old Rosemary, Nathan, 19 and Paul, a 49 year old carpenter, were all taken into custody in a matter of days and then released by police under investigation

Speaking at his home in West Wellow he said: “Our heart goes out to Gaia’s family. I feel terrible for them.

“It’s devastating news for them and absolutely tragic.”

Describing the police operation, he added: “It feels like they arrested Paul just to make it look like they were doing something.

“We have only ever tried to help - both Gaia and the police.

“But what my family has been through due to Rosemary’s act of kindness in inviting Gaia into her home is terrible.

“What was she supposed to do? Say ‘you don’t look at all well but don’t come in’?

“Paul wasn’t even around at the time - he was working 30 miles away. You would have thought the police could work that out.

“When they had Nathan in they asked him no more than ten questions in 24 hours - it’s ridiculous.

“Police said they’d arrested people on suspicion of murder. In terms of a smear on someone’s character, it doesn’t get much worse.

“Public money has been wasted. It could have been spent searching for Gaia."