UPDATED: Man wanted after woman’s death has been arrested

Anthony Ayres, who has been arrested after a woman's death
Anthony Ayres, who has been arrested after a woman's death
Police confirmed the pensioner was found dead

Pensioner, 72, found dead in Hampshire river

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A man who police wanted to speak to after a woman was found dead has been arrested.

Officers were called to Fairlop Avenue, Canvey Island, just before 5pm on Thursday, after reports of a serious assault.

Kelly Pearce, 36, of North Avenue, Canvey, was taken to the Royal London Hospital with a serious neck injury and died soon after 7.30pm.

Earlier today detectives from Essex Police said they urgently needed to speak to Anthony Ayres, 48, in connection with the investigation. He has links to Portsmouth and Havant, police said.

And tonight, a spokesman said: ‘Police are no longer appealing for the public’s help to locate a man wanted in connection with the murder of Kelly Pearce.

‘Anthony Ayres, 48, has been arrested and will be taken into custody for questioning.’

Ms Pearce’s family issued a statement saying they had lost a ‘loving mother and daughter who was big hearted and full of life’.

They added: ‘Kelly was blessed with a loud and bubbly personality and she was often heard before she was seen.

“Although Kelly faced struggles in her tragically short life, we will choose to remember her the way that she was at her best - full of life and never afraid to show affection for the people that she loved.’

Nick Alston, police and crime commissioner for Essex, said he was ‘appalled and deeply saddened’ by the killing.

He added: ‘This tragedy must make us question and challenge the continuing prevalence of violence against women and girls in our society. Such horror and loss of life is intolerable.

‘I believe these questions must be urgently addressed at the national, as well as the local, level.’

He said the case underlines the need for organisations like the police, probation service and NHS to share information about vulnerable people.

‘It is essential that we bring perpetrators to justice. It is also essential that we all do everything in our power to prevent horrific crimes from happening in the first place,’ he added.