A killer subject to an indefinite hospital order after admitting manslaughter in 2021 has gone missing from a secure hospital after threatening staff with a weapon.
Avon and Somerset Police it was conducting a “fast-paced” hunt for Laura Van Marle, 43, who made off on foot from the facility in Wellington, near Taunton, Somerset, on Friday.
According to police, Van Marle went missing after threatening a member of hospital staff with a weapon while on escorted leave at about 5.10pm.
The staff member was not injured.
Police have now released CCTV showing blonde Van Marle carrying a drink and grey rucksack, officers said she is known to walk “long distances” and a force helicopter was scrambled as part of the search for her.
A police statement said: “Laura is white and about 5ft 7ins tall and slim with blonde hair. She was last seen wearing a white vest top, grey denim shorts and black trainers, but may have changed her clothes.
“Officers supported by the National Police Air Service helicopter and specialist units including a dog and handler have been carrying out searches in the Wellington area.
“This is a fast-paced operation and detectives are following up all lines of enquiry.
“Laura was on foot and is known to walk long distances, so may have left the Wellington area. She may also be travelling on public transport and has links to Herefordshire.
“Laura is considered to be in mental health crisis and may pose a risk to herself or others.”
Van Marle was charged with the murder of her mother in 2021, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. She is said to have suffered from severe mental health issues since 2010, which doctors believed to be schizophrenia.
Express.co.uk have contacted Avon and Somerset Police for an update.
Members of the public are urged not to approach van Marle, but to call 999 quoting reference 5223194035.
Any other information can be passed to police by calling 101, quoting the same reference number.