July 30, 2021, 6:11

    Mum of Ben Needham clings to hope he’s still alive 30 years on from his disappearance – World News

    Mum of Ben Needham clings to hope he’s still alive 30 years on from his disappearance – World News

    The mother of Ben Needham is clinging to the hope he is still alive.

    We asked a forensic artist to create an image of how Ben would look now, 30 years after he vanished on Kos, Greece.

    Looking at the image, mum Kerry said: “This is how I’ve imagined him.”

    Kerry Needham has endured 30 years of heartbreaking anniversaries since her son Ben vanished, and is “anxious, depressed and unhappy” as she approaches the latest.

    But she refuses to believe Ben is dead.

    British police think 21-month-old Ben was killed on July 24, 1991 – 30 years ago on Saturday – by a digger driver in a tragic accident at the farmhouse which Kerry’s parents were renovating on the Greek isle of Kos.

    Has someone you love been missing for years? Email webnews@mirror.co.uk

    1992: How Ben Needham looked before he disappeared
    (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

    Kerry told the Mirror: “I still have that hope that South Yorkshire Police are wrong .

    “And while there is no evidence to show me, I have to believe he is still alive. There’s not a single thread of evidence to say otherwise.

    “We need to keep on searching for Ben.”

    Kerry admits she is “struggling” with Saturday's sad milestone.

    She said: “It’s been 30 years of heartbreak.

    “Every day is painful but I think there’s just something about it being 30 years.

    “I feel like I want to scream and sob for myself, for Ben, and for my family.

    “I get teary but I can’t cry. I am scared if I do start crying, I just won’t stop.

    “I don’t understand why this one is affecting me more than the others.”

    Kerry has never given up hope
    (Image: Daily Mirror)

    Kerry, who has a 27-year-old daughter, Leighanna, and granddaughters, Hermione, seven, and Aurora, three, said: “It has been 30 years of having done nothing in my life, apart from having my amazing daughter.

    “After 30 years, I’m still stuck in 1991 and I can’t move forward from that day. I’ve devoted 30 years to finding Ben. I’ve never had any dreams or goals apart from finding Ben. I’ve never had a career or owned my own home. I have never been able to do that and that’s where the anxiety is coming from.

    “I forget a lot, it worries me. I think I’m going to end up with dementia.”

    Police dig on land beside farmhouse in 2016
    (Image: MDM)

    Kerry had moved to Greece from Sheffield to start a new life with her family when Ben went missing. She left him with his grandparents while she went to work and never saw him again.

    South Yorkshire Police have twice sent a team to Kos, the last time after a witness came forward to say that, before his death, digger driver Konstantinos “Dino” Barkas confessed to killing Ben.

    But police digs on land at the farmhouse failed to uncover remains. Tests on a toy car and scrap of leather sandal failed to find a DNA match with the boy.

    Our exclusives about 2016 search in Kos
    (Image: Daily Mirror)

    Our exclusives about 2016 search in Kos
    (Image: Daily Mirror)

    Despite this, police say it is still their “professional belief” that Ben died when a digger driver accidentally ran over him. Kerry said: “There is no forensic evidence to back up their theory, only what this witness told South Yorkshire Police.”

    She said the family had initially accepted the digger accident theory.

    Kerry said: “When we were told that information we were traumatised and we believed what the police were saying.

    “We tried to accept it and grieve and rebuild after that trauma. But in 2018 when they extracted the DNA and it wasn’t Ben’s, I started questioning the theory. Things don’t add up.”

    2022? How Ben may look, aged 31 in an age progression facial depiction made by National Crime Agency listed forensic artist Tim Widden
    (Image: Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

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    Covid has prevented her from going ahead with a plan to return to Kos to make an appeal to the Greek public and meet the witness face-to-face.

    She said: “I want to know everything he said and everything he knows. You can’t keep a secret like that for 25 years and suddenly open up, give all this information to the police and then clam up again.”

    Kerry was told the witness, a business partner of Barkas, claimed to have seen Ben playing on a mound of soil in the morning of his disappearance while the adults were inside.

    The next day he met Barkas, who told the witness that he feared he may have run the boy over.

    Kerry said: “I don’t know why he is claiming he saw Ben there in the morning because my mum didn’t walk up there with him until about 12.45am.

    “If he is wrong about that, what else is he wrong about in his statement?

    “I’m still waiting for South Yorkshire Police to let me have access to those statements and their report.

    (Image: Daily Mirror)

    “How can I accept South Yorkshire Police’s conclusions when I haven’t got access to the information they have?” I’m at a point that I don’t believe it any more. I think they are wrong.

    “There’s no evidence and someone needs to prove to me that happened.

    “Why have they stopped searching for Ben? That’s what angers me.

    “They can’t just leave it here, it’s unfair. Why have the Government not given us more money to keep searching and to speak to these people again? Why are they not doing that for me? We need answers. I need to be supported by the British Government.

    “I wake up every day thinking about the anniversary. I just want to go to sleep and wake up when it’s finished.

    “I need a life and I will never have one while this remains unsolved.”

    South Yorkshire Police said: “We continue to hold the view that Ben died as a result of a tragic accident.”

    Sourse: mirror.co.uk

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