A devastated Basildon councillor has paid tribute to a missing mum as a man has appeared in court today charged with murder.

Madison Wright, 30, from Pitsea, went missing on July 22.

A man has appeared in court today charged with murder in connection with Essex Police's investigation into Madison's disappearance.

Gary Bennett, 36, of Caister Drive, Pitsea appeared at Southend Magistrates' Court today as he was told he is charged with murder.

Read more >>> Man sobs in dock as he appears charged with murdering missing Pitsea mum Madison

David Dadds, Basildon councillor for Billericay East, has paid tribute to the "kind and gentle" woman he says he has known since she was a child.

Mr Dadds said: "I am saddened and devastated to hear of the news about Madison.

"I have known Madison since she was a child.

"She was a caring, kind and gentle person and a loving mother.

"Madison leaves a void that cannot ever be filled. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends"

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Madison has not been seen or heard from since she went missing on the morning of July 22.

On Saturday, a body was discovered at Wat Tyler Country Park in Pitsea. 

The formal identification process is yet to take place, Essex Police says, but Madison’s family have been informed of the development and continue to be supported by specialist detectives.

South Basildon and East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe also expressed his condolences to Madison's family this morning.