From Avon and Somerset Police:

We’re trying to trace a woman made subject of an indefinite hospital order* by the courts in 2021 after admitting manslaughter.

Laura Van Marle, 43, was detained at a secure hospital in Wellington, Somerset. She made off on foot after threatening a member of hospital staff with a weapon while on escorted leave at about 5.10pm today, Friday 11 August. The staff member was not injured.

Laura is white, about 5ft 7ins tall and slim with blonde hair. She was last seen wearing a white vest top, grey denim shorts and black trainers, but may have changed her clothes.

Officers supported by the National Police Air Service helicopter and specialist units including a dog and handler have been carrying out searches in the Wellington area.

This is a fast-paced operation and detectives are following up all lines of enquiry.

Laura was on foot and is known to walk long distances, so may have left the Wellington area. She may also be travelling on public transport, and has links to Herefordshire.

Laura is considered to be in mental health crisis and may pose a risk to herself or others.

Members of the public are urged not to approach Laura, but to call 999 straight away quoting reference 5223194035. Please call 101 with any other information, giving the same reference. 

*under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act, with a Section 41 restriction order.