Police launch forest search for missing British diplomat

12 May 2020, 20:16

Richard Morris has now been missing for six days
Richard Morris has now been missing for six days. Picture: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

By Ewan Somerville

Police have begun searching a forest where a British diplomat who vanished six days ago regularly jogged.

Richard Morris, 52, went missing after failing to return from his morning run at about 10.30am last Wednesday.

A team of 50 specialist officers have deployed dogs and drones to scour 2,000 acres of waist-high bracken and dense woodland at Alice Holt forest, Hampshire.

Mr Morris was the UK ambassador to Nepal for four years until 2019 and was due to be assigned British High Commissioner to Fiji in July.

The father of three was a regular participant in the weekly Alice Holt run, a five kilometre route along the forest’s tracks, trails and cycle paths.

In a statement, Hampshire Constabulary said: "We have approximately 50 specially-trained people currently involved in the search, including volunteers from HANTSAR [Hampshire Search and Rescue].

"We are searching in that area as he was known to run there."

Mr Morris was due to start working in Fiji
Mr Morris was due be assigned as the British High Commissioner to Fiji in July. . Picture: Hampshire Police

Police described his appearance as white with greying hair and beard, with a distinctive birthmark on his face.

He was wearing a blue long-sleeved top, black shorts and blue trainers when he went missing.

Police previously asked runners to check his profile on the fitness app Strava for any signs of activity tracked on GPS, and urged nearby residents to check for anyone sheltering in outbuildings or “for discarded items”.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: "Richard is a much-valued and well-liked colleague. We are extremely worried that he is missing and we all hope he will be found safe and well soon."