WORKERS and residents have described their shock after witnessing the body of a missing woman being pulled from the river behind Oxford Ice Rink.
Police recovered the body from a stretch of the Thames behind the building on Oxpens Road.
It is believed to be that of a 56-year-old West Oxford woman named by police as Sirzana Saeed who went missing in the early hours of Saturday morning from her home.
One man who did not want to be named saw police and ambulances arrive at the river from his window.
He said: “I saw a lot of people arriving, then a van came with divers in wetsuits and they got in a little boat.
“A couple of minutes later they pulled a body out of the branches in the middle of the river. It was quite shocking.”
Oxford Ice Rink recreational assistant Richard Jackson-Ewers arrived for work
at 1.50pm to find part of the car park cordoned off by police.
He said: “There were PCSOs and other officers posted around the field. They were dragging something out of the river.
“There were two police vans and ambulances in our car park and something that looked like a forensics team.
“By 3pm they were all gone.”
Officers had expressed concerns over the missing woman’s safety in the hours after her disappearance.
An appeal was made through the media for help in tracing her.
Yet within hours of that appeal, the operation to find her had centred on the waterway behind the ice rink.
Several ambulances were seen in the city centre on their way to the incident, while motorists were pulled over for police checks at Ferry Hinksey Road off Botley Road.
Mrs Saeed was last seen by her family leaving her home in Hill View Road, off Botley Road.
Her family have been informed about the discovery.
Susanna Pressell, who is the councillor for Jericho and Osney, said: “This is absolutely shocking. I can’t believe it.”