Detectives swooped in a dawn raid to arrest a man over the murder of a North-East student.

Finnish-born Sara Cameron was found dead in a field close to her home in Earsdon, North Tyneside, on the morning of Good Friday, April 21, 2000.

She had been stripped naked and strangled to death.

The Northumbria University sports management student had been out with friends in Newcastle the previous evening, to celebrate winning a dream work placement at the Sydney Olympics.

The 23-year-old caught the last Metro train home from Monument station in Newcastle city centre, then left Shiremoor Metro station intending to walk the rest of the way home to her Garden Terrace flat.

But she never arrived and neighbours found her body under a hedge early the next morning.

Northumbria police officers, working with Sussex police, arrested a 29-year-old man in Sussex at 6.30am yesterday.

The suspect was brought up from the South-East and was last night being questioned at a police station in the region. Police would not reveal if the suspect was originally from the North-East, or how inquiries led them to the south.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Bolam, who has led the enquiry from day one, said Sara's father, Roy, and mother Sirpa had been informed of the development.

Police suspect Sara's killer was a man with extensive local knowledge because he dumped her clothing several hundred yards away in a wooded area known as The Redda, behind South Wellfield Middle School in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

Detectives believe the murderer stayed there for some time afterwards and would have been covered in mud when he left.

The investigation has already involved widespread DNA testing. Police took information from 18,000 people and 3,700 voluntary DNA samples.

Through this, they were able to eliminate 3,500 people from their inquiries.

The force also turned to Ministry of Defence chiefs, who enhanced CCTV pictures of two men police want to question over the murder. So far, these men have not come forward.

Sara's father Roy Cameron and Sara's mother, who lives in Finland, have battled to bring their daughter's killer to justice. The 63-year-old retired architect and university lecturer, who now lives in Paignton, Devon, begged anyone with information to come forward to assist in the attempt to track down the killer.

Full story in The Northern Echo tomorrow.