A NORTH Yorkshire man has appeared in court charged with the murder of Gemma Simpson.

Martin Bell, 44, of St Leonard's Crescent, Scarborough, was arrested last week on suspicion of murdering Gemma, who was 23 when she disappeared from her Leeds home in May, 2000.

Police spent several days searching Mr Bell's home, which has now been boarded up, while he was being questioned, and charged him with Gemma's murder on Friday.

He appeared before York magistrates' court on Saturday, and is due before Leeds Crown court on Tuesday.