Gaynor Lord's missing 26 minutes: Retracing steps of vanished mum of three, as search approaches second week

15 December 2023, 10:26

Gaynor Lord was last seen Friday afternoon
Gaynor Lord was last seen Friday afternoon. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

By Kit Heren

As police continue to search for Gaynor Lord in a park and river in Norwich, a question remains over a long gap in the timeline of her disappearance.

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Ms Lord left work early at about 2.45 on Friday, December 8, 75 minutes before she was due to finish for the day.

She hurried east along Bedford Street, then along London Street and Queen Street to Norwich Cathedral - a journey of less than half a mile, which took her about four minutes.

She spent 33 minutes in the cathedral and its grounds, before leaving at 3.23pm.

The next sighting of Ms Lord was 26 minutes later at 3.49pm, outside the Playhouse theatre to the north.

That's a journey of about 650 metres, which would take an average person about seven or eight minutes to walk.

Read more: Gaynor Lord detectives have 'some indications' why missing mum left work early as friend says she received 'pocket dial'

Read more: Gaynor Lord's husband 'in bits' as family perplexed at why missing mother visited Norwich Cathedral

Police release CCTV of last known sighting of Gaynor Lord as hunt continues

After walking past the Playhouse, Ms Lord is next seen at 3.53pm, walking to the north along St Crispins Road towards Pitt Street.

Eight minutes later, at 4.01pm, she is caught on CCTV for the last time walking north along St Augustine's Road.

Gaynor Lord was last seen on CCTV on Friday afternoon
Gaynor Lord was last seen on CCTV on Friday afternoon. Picture: Norfolk Police

Her belongings were found that evening in Wensum Park, around eight minutes' walk further north.

Her entire journey was about 1.5 miles, running east from Jarrolds to Norwich Cathedral, and then north to Wensum Park.

Gaynor Lord first walked from Jarrolds to Norwich Cathedral
Gaynor Lord first walked from Jarrolds to Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Google Street View

What happened to her in those lost 26 minutes remains a mystery for now, with police focusing their efforts on Wensum Park where Ms Lord's belongings were found.

Officers have said that the search of the river may take several days.

Ms Lord's family is very upset by her disappearance, with her husband said to be "in bits".

While police have no information suggest third party involvement in her disappearance, detectives are probing whether she met with someone at the cathedral.

The journey from Norwich Cathedral to the Playhouse should take 7 or 8 minutes
The journey from Norwich Cathedral to the Playhouse should take 7 or 8 minutes. Picture: Google Street View

Fabrizio Fiaschi, shop owner of Amaretto Delicatessen, near the Playhouse, where Ms Lord was seen at the end of the 26-minute gap, said: “We are dreadfully sorry for her friends and family to endure this pain, especially during the festive period too.

Ms Lord's probable route after walking past the Playhouse
Ms Lord's probable route after walking past the Playhouse. Picture: Google Street View

He told Eastern Daily Press: "We don’t know this woman and sadly didn’t see anything, if the police say she walked this way she must have done but we didn't see.

“It is shocking she was last seen just near here but so many people walk past you sadly just cannot notice everything."

Police search teams on the River Wensum in Wensum Park, Norwich
Police search teams on the River Wensum in Wensum Park, Norwich. Picture: Alamy

Timeline of Gaynor Lord's disappearance

2:15pm: Ms Lord's friend Julie Butcher gets a call from her, but is busy and says she will call her back.

2:22-2:23pm: Ms Butcher calls Ms Lord back, but gets no response. She also texts her on WhatsApp, but hears nothing

2:44pm: Ms Lord is seen working at the Bullards Gin counter in the basement at Jarrold department store in Norwich - wearing a white shirt overlaid with a yellow sweater and grey trousers.

2:45-2:46pm: She leaves the store via the loading bay on Bedford Street, just over an hour before she was due to finish work at 4pm.

2:47pm: She walks onto London Street past the Cosy Club.

2.48pm: Ms Lord then makes her way onto Queen Street and walks towards Norwich Cathedral.

2:50pm: She enters the Cathedral grounds and doesn’t exit for another 33 minutes.

3:23pm: She is seen on The Close at the Cathedral entrance and exits through the archway while putting her olive-coloured coat on and is seen to walk away from the cathedral on Queen Street.

3:49pm: Ms Lord was seen on the CCTV near the Playhouse on St George’s Street.

3:53pm: She walks along St Crispins Road towards Pitt Street.

4:01pm: Gaynor walks up St Augustines Street - this is the last time Ms Lord was captured on CCTV before she went missing.

4:15pm: Ms Butcher gets a call from Ms Lord, but it sounds like a pocket dial and the two don't speak.

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