Leeds: Police await ID of body found in River Aire UPDATED

Police along the River Aire in Leeds city centre.
Police along the River Aire in Leeds city centre.
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A BODY recovered from the River Aire was last night strongly suspected to be that of a missing 30-year-old Leeds man.

Members of the West Yorkshire Police Underwater Search Team were part of a city-wide police search operation when they discovered the body of a man in the water “very close” to the bridge carrying Neville Street just south of the Dark Arches area.

The identity of the body was not immediately confirmed, though the family of Robert Stoner, who disappeared after leaving The Factory nightclub in Water Lane, Leeds, where he had attended a private party shortly before 2.30am last Saturday morning, were alerted.

Formal identification of the body was still awaited, but police are not believed to be searching for any other missing men in the area at present.

On Tuesday the Yorkshire Evening Post carried an impassioned plea from Mr Stoner’s sister Cath for any information about his whereabouts or any person who had seen him “even if only for a split second” to contact the police.

Mr Stoner, a warehouseman from Swarcliffe, Leeds, described as a “happy-go-lucky and very popular man” had been on a night out with his girlfriend, Lynsey, in the Swarcliffe area on Friday. He had then gone to the Station Pub in Cross Gates and then with friends to the nightclub. He split-up from his friends and was last seen leaving the club at about 2.25am. He was reported missing by relatives that afternoon.

Though familiar with the Swarcliffe and Cross Gates areas he was not a regular at The Factory and may not have known the area around the club well, said his sister.

Hundreds signed up to a Facebook group established to help trace Mr Stoner.

Police had been hoping people who had left other bars and clubs about the same time may have seen Mr Stoner as he walked from The Factory, perhaps towards the city centre. Officers have also been combing CCTV footage to find a trace of Mr Stoner and his movements.

Peter McNestry, chair of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust

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