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Missing Canterbury pensioner Paulina Manfredini two hours from death when found in ditch on A2 roadside

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A missing pensioner was just TWO hours from death after surviving three nights in a roadside ditch in sub-zero temperatures.

Paulina Manfredini, 73, was discovered hidden from view on the side of A2 on Tuesday afternoon – more than 60 hours after she was reported missing from her Canterbury home.

It is believed undergrowth had provided her some warmth as temperatures dropped to minus one on all three nights.

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Paulina Manfredini
Paulina Manfredini

She was found by a police dog called Dexter after a reported sighting refocused the search effort on the A2 London Road in Faversham.

But Kent Search and Rescue's James Dunn says she was almost missed.

VIDEO: Mrs Manfredini was found at the roadside

"As the police walked towards another search area, the dog pulled the officer towards something," he said.

"It turned out to be an epic result. We were about to search elsewhere so it was lucky she was found then."

Suffering severely from hypothermia, Mrs Manfredini was taken to hospital, where she is said to be stable and conscious and on the road to recovery.

Police say she is thought to have been two hours from death.

Police searching woodland for the missing dementia sufferer
Police searching woodland for the missing dementia sufferer

"She was a very, very lucky lady," Mr Dunn said.

"She was found very close to the road and was hypothermic and confused. It is very likely that she had been there some 60 hours.

"She had managed to find shelter with undergrowth in a ditch by the road. Given the weather and temperatures, it was amazing that she was in as good condition when we found her."

The roadside ditch where Mrs Manfredini was found
The roadside ditch where Mrs Manfredini was found

Mrs Manfredini had only been wearing a brown bomber-style jacket and a skirt over black leggings when she disappeared.

The huge search for her began on Saturday evening when she was reported missing from her home in Downs Road at 8.13pm.

She had not used her bank card or accounts and had no mobile phone for police to track her location, but detectives discovered she had been captured on CCTV at the Gate Services off the A2 near Dunkirk at 2.45pm.

Police issued a media appeal for information as specialist teams and a search helicopter looked for Mrs Manfredini across the city throughout the night and on Sunday.

The search was stepped up on Monday, with officers and volunteers from Kent Search and Rescue filmed scouring woodland surrounding the roadside cafe.

Later that evening the search was refocused on Faversham after a bus driver reported he may have dropped her off in the town.

CCTV footage then emerged of Mrs Manfredini getting off the bus in Station Road at 7.25pm.

An image was circulated by the media, sparking a call on Tuesday from a member of the public who believed they had seen the pensioner walking along the A2 towards Sittingbourne on Saturday night.

Paulina Manfredini was seen on CCTV as she got off a bus in Station Road, Faversham at around 7.25pm on Saturday.
Paulina Manfredini was seen on CCTV as she got off a bus in Station Road, Faversham at around 7.25pm on Saturday.

Road blocks were implemented as officers and volunteers searched along the stretch, focusing their efforts on the spot where she was seen, near the junction with Western Link.

Mrs Manfredini was eventually found half-a-mile away, near the Four Oaks Road junction, shortly before 4pm.

Police had earlier announced they would be suspending their search of the area at 5pm until the following morning.

After Mrs Manfredini was found, Inspector Mark Saveall said: "The search teams have now been stood down. We would like to thank everyone who has phoned in with information or shared our appeals."

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