Trafficking fears over Missing Melbourn woman

09:12 10 May 2012

VULNERABLE: Missing Leah Reed is feared to have been groomed for a nefarious purpose

VULNERABLE: Missing Leah Reed is feared to have been groomed for a nefarious purpose

Archant

A SEARCH has been launched for a vulnerable woman believed to be missing in Pakistan with her father fearing she may have been “groomed for a nefarious purpose”.

Leah Reed, 28, who has a learning difficulty and suffers from bi-polar disorder, disappeared after telling her family she was going on a domestic holiday on April 24.

She failed to return and was reported missing on May 2 but it came to light on Sunday she could have flown to Lahore, after police discovered her passport had been used to check on to a flight from Heathrow to Pakistan.

Her terminally ill father Leonard Reed, of Orchard Road, Melbourn, believes she has been fooled by the promise of romance and thinks someone else would have had to book the flights and travel with Leah due to her condition.

The 58-year-old said: “It seems practically certain she may have been groomed for some nefarious purpose, possibly for trafficking in the sex trade and possibly for a view to smuggle drugs without her knowing.

“She’s entirely dependent on her medication, lithium, and for her it is essential. When the supplies run out as they might have already done she will become very ill. She would be useless for the situation she currently finds herself in.

“This is a very serious situation and a life-threatening situation for my daughter. If she can’t get further supplies of lithium she will not survive, there are no two ways about it.

“She can’t survive without her medication and she will become suicidal and completely out of control. They will have no use for her.”

The retired teacher and his wife Asta have been in contact with officials in both Pakistan and the UK, with their eight other children also helping with the search.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary said they have no reason to believe any harm has come to Leah.

A police spokesman said: “We are keeping an open mind as to why Leah has chosen, if indeed she has, to travel abroad.

“Specialist officers are conducting enquiries both in England and abroad. However, there is no evidence at this stage to suggest she has come to any harm.

“We would urge anyone with any information as to Leah’s whereabouts to call police on 101.”

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of reports of a British national reported missing in Pakistan.

“We are looking into this and stand ready to provide consular assistance.”

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