18 September 2023

Man charged with murder of artist Claire Knights

18 September 2023

A man has been charged with the murder of artist Claire Knights, who was found dead in Kent last month, two days after she was reported missing.

Harrison Lawrence-van Pooss, 20, from Margate, was charged with murder on Monday, and later appeared via videolink at Medway Magistrates’ Court.

He was also charged with voyeurism, following an investigation into a separate incident when “upskirt” images of a woman were covertly taken on August 22 in Birchington, Kent.

Lawrence-van Pooss was remanded to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday.

Ms Knights, 54, from Upstreet, near Canterbury, was reported as a high-risk missing person on August 23.

It is believed she had been walking her white and brown spaniel, Zebulon, from the village to the Minnis Bay area of Birchington, where she was reportedly seen that afternoon.

Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate arrested a man on suspicion of murder the following day.

Ms Knights was found dead in an area between St Nicholas-at-Wade and Minnis Bay on August 25.

A statement released by Kent Police said: “Claire was a loving mum, partner, daughter and sister. An amazing contemporary artist, a trailblazer in life.

“She loved animals and in particular her springer spaniel, Zebulon.

“We, the family, are struggling to come to terms with the fact she is no longer with us. We wish to thank friends and the community for their active support and kind words.”

Art school The Margate School also paid tribute to Ms Knights, saying: “She was an outstanding and exceptional artist, whose work reflected her complex, loving nature.

“Her sculptural work had elements of humour and wit alongside the determination.”

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