Ben Needham's mother begs for help

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Ben Needham's mother begs for help

Post  Guest on Tue 12 Oct - 15:02

Mother of Ben Needham begs British holidaymakers for help in finding son snatched from Greece in 1991 as she prepares for his 21st birthday

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:23 PM on 12th October 2010

He disappeared on the holiday isle of Kos aged just 21 months, sparking a huge but ultimately unsuccessful police hunt.
Now the mother of missing Ben Needham is preparing to mark his 21st birthday and has hit out at Greek police for abandoning the search for her son.
Kerry Needham, 38, called on British holidaymakers not to give up on Ben, who disappeared without trace in 1991.
She said: 'They’re my only hope now because the Greek police simply don’t care about the case, and aren’t bothered about my son any more.'
Still hoping: Kerry Needham (left) holds a picture of how experts believe her missing son Ben would look today, ahead of his 21st birthday this month, and right, a picture of Ben before he was snatched
Kerry intends to mark her son's 21st birthday with a gathering of close relatives at the family home in Sheffield.
She said: 'We won’t be having a party or anything like that because there’s nothing to celebrate but Ben’s 21st only comes round once so I’ll be putting up his cards and lighting candles just like any mum does when her son comes of age.

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'Ben won’t be here, of course, but it’s a milestone in his life after all, and I’ll mark the occasion knowing in my heart that he’s still alive somewhere in the world and that he’ll come home one day.'
Ben was seized within moments of him going to play outside a farmhouse, which his grandfather was renovating in the village of Iraklise.

Kerry was working as a waitress on the island at the time.
Investigators suspect the blonde-haired child was abducted by a gypsy gang, and sold to the highest bidder for adoption.

But a bungled police inquiry – which was heavily criticised by Ben’s family - failed to track down the culprits.

Kerry last visited the popular tourist island in 2008 – but has no intention of going back after being rebuffed by the authorities.
Worst nightmare: Kerry Needham pictured in Kos shortly after her son's disappearance
She added: 'I’m hoping that Ben’s 21st birthday will focus everyone's attention on the case again.

'It should give the investigation a new focus and a higher profile, and that easily could lead somewhere, but there’s no point me going back to Kos because the police just don’t want to help.
'They didn’t even invite me into the police station the last time I went, and when I asked to see all the files they just brushed me off, and said: "Why do you want to see them – they’re all in Greek," as though I’d no rights at all.
'They’re not bothered about Ben now. They don’t care about us one bit, and they don’t want help move things on any more.

'It’s just something that happened in the past, as far as the Greek police are concerned, and they just want to leave it there.'
Kerry praised British tourists for remaining vigilant after so many years.

She said: 'We’d have been on our own if it hadn’t been for British holidaymakers coming back with possible sightings.

'We don’t get as many reports as we used to at the beginning, but lots of people still come home with photographs and get in touch with the police even now.

'It can be heartbreaking at times, but it’s great to know that so many ordinary, decent people are out there trying to find Ben.

'I’ve never met any of these people, and I’ll never know them, but they’re still thinking about Ben after so many years, and that’s the kind of thing that keeps me going.'

'Some people have suggested, of course, that Ben might be dead. But there’s never been a shred of evidence, and I don’t believe that for one moment''Someone came home from Turkey only last week, who’d seen the computer enhanced photo of Ben, and reported a guy with the same features working in a restaurant.

'The guy had a photo album with the name Ben written on the front, but I’m not building my hopes up.

'You can’t afford to do that. You have to keep your feet on the ground and say to yourself ‘It’ll turn out to be another false alarm.'
Kerry believes that Ben will return home of his own accord eventually.

The defiant mum, who has a 16-year-old daughter Leigh-anna, added: 'I don’t think we’ll find him – I think it will be a case of him turning up in Sheffield and finding us eventually.
'Maybe a workmate or a friend will see the computer image of Ben on the Internet, and put two and two together.

'It only needs one person to look at the picture, and make the connection.

'Some people have suggested, of course, that Ben might be dead. But there’s never been a shred of evidence, and I don’t believe that for one moment.

'I’m sure he’ll come home one day – all we’ve got to do is wait for him to come back.

'I'm sure he doesn't know who is, and how much we've missed him.

'It may have been 19 years, but that doesn't make it any easier. I'd do anything to see him, and hold him, and one day it'll happen.

'That's what I'm hanging on to, and I always will.'

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Re: Ben Needham's mother begs for help

Post  Autumn on Tue 12 Oct - 17:15

Disappearance of Ben Needham
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The disappearance of Ben Needham occurred on 24 July 1991, when the twenty-one-month-old boy went missing on the Greek island of Kos. Ben Needham (born on 29 October 1989 in Sheffield, United Kingdom[1]) is the son of Kerry Needham[2] (born 1971) and her boyfriend Simon. Ben has a strawberry-like birthmark in the nape of his neck.

Ben Needham had been holidaying with his parents on Kos[3] (to where his maternal grandparents had emigrated) in the village of Iraklise when he went missing on 24 July 1991. His mother Kerry Needham also planned to move permanently to Kos with Ben to be near her parents, Eddie and Christine Needham, and brothers, Stephen and Danny, then aged seventeen and eleven respectively.
On the day of his disappearance, Ben had been left in the care of his grandparents while his mother went to work at a local hotel. He had been playing near the doorway of the family's farmhouse whilst the adults were having lunch. His grandmother had taken her eyes off him for just a few minutes when it was discovered he was gone. This was sometime around half past two in the afternoon.
The family first searched the area for Ben, assuming he had wandered off, or that their teenage son, Stephen, had taken him out on his moped. When no trace found of the boy was found, the police were notified. However, the police extensively questioned the Needhams, holding them as prime suspects, and delayed in informing airports and docks. Eventually they widened their search for the child. A shop assistant had seen Ben on the evening of his disappearance with an older boy, but this lead was not followed up until it was too late to trace the boys.
It is the belief of the Needham family that Ben was kidnapped with the intention of either being sold for adoption or taken by child traffickers. However, there is no evidence to support this theory and some observers consider an accident to be a legitimate alternative scenario.[4][5]


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Ben and Uncle Stephen

Post  Tony Bennett on Tue 12 Oct - 18:44

Ben Needham was reported missing in 1991.


Ten years on, in 2001, a TV film was made. The trailer for it ran:

"Revisits the case of Ben Needham, who disappeared ten years ago when he was twenty one months old whilst the family were staying on the Greek island of Kos. No trace of him has ever been found, although there have been several reported sightings and false trails. Ben's uncle Stephen Needham undergoes hypnosis to see if he can revive any memories of the day that may prove useful. He has disquieting images of killing Ben in a motorbike accident and burying him, but since police suggested this to him on several occassions during past interogations this may not signify anything".


Twelve years on, in 2003, this happened:

"THE uncle of missing child Ben Needham was last night at the centre of a police investigation in North Wales.

Steve Needham was arrested early on Sunday after 22-year-old Alison Jarvis claimed she was grabbed and bundled towards a car in Wrexham.

Also arrested was Pierce Mount, the partner of Ben’s mum, Kerry Needham.

Miss Jarvis, of Cunningham Avenue,Wrexham, told officers she had been on a night out when she was confronted at about 3.30am outside Choice’s Video Shop,on Market Street.

She claimed Mr Needham tried to drag her towards the car park on St George’s Crescent, where Mr Mount was waiting".

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Re: Ben Needham's mother begs for help

Post  Judge Mental on Tue 12 Oct - 20:25

He sounds like the sort of chap who needs a lot more attention than he has already been given.

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Re: Ben Needham's mother begs for help

Post  Autumn on Wed 13 Oct - 2:38

Extracts from Guardian article

"It was sunny, peaceful, there was only the crickets," she said. "It was like living in a free world. Most people wouldn't say, 'Let's just go and live in Greece.' So we'd achieved something. We had money in the bank, not a lot, but we lived simply and had everything we needed... sea and olive trees and lemons growing on trees in the streets, like another world, a dream. And then Ben disappeared."

It was Christine who had taken Ben to the farmhouse that day, while Kerry was at work. In Cyprus she described again what happened; how they'd been sitting inside, eating lunch, and Ben was playing, in and out, and then after Stephen left she couldn't hear him. "I'm thinking - he's quiet. It's an instinct, you just know the quiet bit means trouble. God knows I never thought it would be that much trouble."

She told me how they had assumed Stephen had given Ben a ride on his moped.

"He was mad for that bike," she said. "We've got pictures of him on it. We were waiting for the bike ride to finish, then 10 minutes turned into half an hour and then you're thinking, 'He's a long time'." About an hour later she'd said, "It looks like Steve's not coming back. I'll get off now, get the tea on."

Stephen was the last of the family to see Ben. "He said: 'Bike, bike,' and I said, 'No chance, go to Grandad.'" Then Stephen got on his bike and didn't look back.

Because of this, when he was questioned by the police he was singled out. They said that his moped looked as if it had been involved in an accident. Stephen told them about a minor crash a few days before, when he'd swerved to avoid some tourists on quad bikes, which explained the lack of indicators and a smashed fairing. But they weren't satisfied. "You fall off, kill the child, bury him?" the policeman said. The questioning had gone on like this for days. "They tried to break him," was how Eddie had put it, "but there was nothing to break."

Ever since the police questioned Stephen, their idea that he might have had a hand in Ben's disappearance has haunted him. "Did I take him, did I pick him up and put him on my bike, did I drive down that lane? I was questioning my own sanity. It was always there. How could a child disappear, how could he just vanish? Did I forget him somewhere or have an accident? Did I run over him or fall off my bike? I've asked myself that again and again."

In 2001, when another TV documentary was made, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Ben's disappearance, Stephen was asked if he would be interviewed and whether he would undergo a form of hypnotherapy on camera. He agreed because he'd heard it might help to retrieve hidden memories. In the film he had to revisit the last moment he saw Ben and confront the doubt created by the police interrogation. It was traumatic but, when the filming was over, Stephen walked away sure that any suspicion that he or anyone else might have harboured that he could have accidentally killed Ben would be dispelled once and for all. Despite this, and although the film exonerates him, Stephen's fears were justified.

A year ago, he was out having a drink with his brother Danny and Kerry's husband, Craig. "One of my mates was half asleep, drunk on a sofa and a group of lads were threatening him, so I went over and said, 'Give up, he's drunk,' and one of them went, 'Oh, aren't you that uncle of that Ben that disappeared?' I said yes. 'You took him on your bike, didn't you?'"

It's taken him years to understand how the trauma of Ben going missing has affected him. "Our feelings were on hold when we were all trying to resolve Ben's case, so your own emotions get waylaid. And then when it starts to fade away, that's when you're left with yourself. If I hadn't been through that experience in Greece, I'd have been mentally stronger and more able to deal with the problems, to work through things." When I asked him how much he thought his adult life has been determined by losing Ben, he said, "It's been destroyed, hasn't it, really?"

What were this family thinking of, allowing a 21 month old toddler ride on the back of a motorbike? what
Many hours passed before they called the police because the grandparents assumed their son Stephen had taken Ben off on his bike what what

Damn those pesky gypsies, up to their old tricks again sarcastic


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Re: Ben Needham's mother begs for help

Post  Tony Bennett on Wed 13 Oct - 7:40

Yes, thank you very much for finding this, Autumn, I read this three years ago when I began researching famous 'abductions' and I thought that of all the explanations, Stephen riding off on his bike wth Ben and having an accident was by some way the most likley scenario

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Re: Ben Needham's mother begs for help

Post  j.rob on Tue 20 Jan - 16:56

What were this family thinking of, allowing a 21 month old toddler ride on the back of a motorbike?  
Many hours passed before they called the police because the grandparents assumed their son Stephen had taken Ben off on his bike  

Damn those pesky gypsies, up to their old tricks again 


I had always believed that Ben wandered off and came to some harm, or someone found him and took him away. But, given that the last people who saw a child are always vital witnesses, and given that when a child mysteriously disappears in the majority of cases it has something to do with a family member or someone the child knows, then the role of his Uncle (not half brother as I previously wrote before editing) should be closely examined. As he was the last person who saw Ben, so he says.

I am slightly confused by the family relationships, though. If Stephen is the son of Ben's grandparents, then surely that does not make Stephen his Uncle? The family tree seems confusing to my addled brain?

But I have to agree that allowing a 21 month year old toddler to ride on the back of a moped being driven by a 17 year old is utter madness. And helmets in Greece, even now, seem to be an optional extra (and unlikely to fit a 21 month year old). 

Seventeen year old boys have a terrible track record for road accidents. Terrible. And mopeds and motorbikes are especially lethal in such young male hands. Then there is that thing about young men and speed and taking risks and dares. With an excitable 21 month year old clinging on to you, a few 'wheelies' at speed on a windy, bumpy country road might seem like a great idea.

If this had happened, it is easy also to understand why Steven might not want to have come clean. And why Ben's family might prefer to believe in the gypsy abductors than an alternative scenario. 

Yes, I can see how convenient the 'random abduction by gypsy' theory might be.


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