Search for Laura Van Marle after escape from secure unit

Police are trying to trace a woman made subject to an indefinite hospital order by the courts in 2021 after admitting manslaughter.

Laura Van Marle, 43, was detained at a secure hospital in Wellington, Somerset after admitting manslaughter.

She had been originally been charged with the murder of her mother in Cradley, Herefordshire, in 2021, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.


A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Constabulary said Van Marle made off on foot after threatening a member of hospital staff with a weapon while on escorted leave at about 5.10pm on August 11. The staff member was not injured.

Van Marle is white, 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.

She 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.

Van Marle is considered to be in mental health crisis and may pose a risk to herself or others.

Members of the public are urged not to approach her, but to call 999 straight away quoting reference 5223194035. Please call 101 with any other information, giving the same reference.

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