A man has admitted to police that he killed a woman who went missing 14 years ago.

Martin Bell, who was arrested in Scarborough last week, appeared over a video link from Hull prison to Leeds Crown Court today accused of murdering Gemma Simpson, 23 from Harehills, Leeds who vanished after setting off to catch a bus.

Ian Cook representing Bell told the court his client had made a “full and frank admission to unlawfully killing her in interview to the police.”

He said Bell, 44, had a psychiatric history and the issues in the case were likely to be “diminished responsibility or provocation.”

That killing had happened in Harrogate and he said: “Inquiries are ongoing to locate the body.”

Bell, recently of St Leonard’s Crescent, Scarborough is accused of murdering Gemma between May 4 and June 3, 2000 at a flat in Knaresborough Road, Harrogate.

The case was before Leeds Crown Court because magistrates have no powers to consider bail in murder cases. Bell appeared before magistrates in York on Saturday.

Mr Cook told the court there was no bail application being made.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC remanded Bell in custody until July 22 for a preliminary hearing at which the timetable for his case will be set.

He told Bell that after consultation with the Presiding judge for the North Eastern Circuit he also hoped to set a trial date at that time.

The court heard custody time limits expire for Bell on January 9 next year.

Gemma was 23 when she vanished after telling a friend she was catching a bus into Leeds City centre in May 2000.

Last week Bell was charged after Jan Lamping, senior district crown prosecutor for CPS Yorkshire and Humberside said they had been working closely with West Yorkshire police in connection with the case.

“Having carefully considered all of the evidence presented to us, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge this defendant with the murder of Gemma Simpson and that it is in the public interest to do so.”

Gemma’s family have said they can think of no obvious reason for her disappearance.

Her face has also featured on milk cartons and on the side of a fleet of 40-foot long lorries in a bid to appeal for information about her disappearance.