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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 June 2006, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Urgent hunt for father and girls
Peter Elgey and his daughters Roseanne and Marie
Peter Elgey and his daughters Roseanne and Marie
Police are seriously concerned for the safety of two teenage girls after they went missing with their armed father.

A nationwide hunt was launched after Peter Elgey, 47, disappeared on Sunday morning with Marie, 16, a wheelchair user, and Roseanne, aged 13.

Their mother Edith raised the alarm. Durham Police said Mr Elgey took four kitchen knives and a spade from the house in Spennymoor, County Durham.

Mr Elgey is said have been suffering recently from mental health problems.

Police said Mr and Mrs Elgey had a row on Saturday night about a family holiday and he smashed up their bedroom and ripped out the telephone.

'Acting unusually'

Mrs Elgey woke on Sunday morning and went outside to see her husband wheeling Marie, who has cerebral palsy, into the family car, a turquoise Toyota Hiace van with the registration DF04 XUH.

She spoke briefly to her youngest daughter who said they would be back in a week.

Police said they had concerns about the welfare of all three because of Marie's disability and the fact that family friends had described Mr Elgey as suffering from paranoia in recent weeks.

Det Ch Supt Ian Scott said: "Peter Elgey has for the last month been suffering from some sort of paranoia and has been acting very unusually in the presence of other family members and they are concerned about him.

Went voluntarily

"We believe that Peter does have mental health problems which give us some cause for concern about his well-being.

"Obviously if he is currently the guardian of a 16-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer and a 13-year-old then I have concerns for their well-being as well.

"His mental health problems seem to have evolved into some domestic incidents with his wife Edith.

"These have culminated over recent days and hours."

Mr Scott said that as far as he was aware doctors had not diagnosed Mr Elgey as suffering from a mental illness or that he was taking any medication.

He stressed that Mr Elgey had never been violent towards the two girls and it appeared they had gone with their father voluntarily.

Breakfast cereals and flasks were also taken, but not any of Marie's medication which she needs three times a day.

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