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***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by MayMuse on 27.09.16 11:55

The family must be going out of their minds, if Kerry had more official investigative help sooner maybe what happened to Ben could have been concluded much earlier. To live through two decades not knowing does not bear thinking about. I hope the family are able to find some form of peace after all this is finished.

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by jeanmonroe on 27.09.16 12:25

@MayMuse wrote:The family must be going out of their minds, if Kerry had more official investigative help sooner maybe what happened to Ben could have been concluded much earlier. To live through two decades not knowing does not bear thinking about. I hope the family are able to find some form of peace after all this is finished.

"if Kerry had more official investigative help...."

IF Kerry had been named 'Kate', if Kerry had been a 'doctor/gp', if Kerry had 'unlimited' HO millions, of UK taxpayers money, allocated to her police 'force', to fund, without question, a full time 'team' of 38, solely dedicated, Ben 'cops' and 'staff', for over 5 years, yeah,.....................'IF ONLY!'

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by MayMuse on 27.09.16 12:32

@jeanmonroe wrote:
@MayMuse wrote:The family must be going out of their minds, if Kerry had more official investigative help sooner maybe what happened to Ben could have been concluded much earlier. To live through two decades not knowing does not bear thinking about. I hope the family are able to find some form of peace after all this is finished.

"if Kerry had more official investigative help...."

IF Kerry had been named 'Kate', if Kerry had been a 'doctor/gp', if Kerry had 'unlimited' HO millions, of UK taxpayers money, allocated to her police 'force', to fund, without question, a full time 'team' of 38, solely dedicated, Ben 'cops' and 'staff', for over 5 years,.....................'IF ONLY!'
@jeanmonroe
Exactly, in this case however, where was the "benefit" for the higher echelons? 
IMO

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Verdi on 27.09.16 12:55

Ben Needham wikipedia entry..

In October 2012, police from the United Kingdom travelled to Greece to search an area that they believed might contain Ben Needham's remains. On 19 October, Greek police, assisted by a team of specialist search advisors from South Yorkshire Police, began an operation to examine the grounds of the property from which Ben disappeared.

The operation, involving geophysical survey equipment, forensic archaeologists and human remains detection (HRD) dogs, was triggered by a police line of inquiry into whether Ben had been accidentally buried as a result of an excavator driver dumping building rubble nearby. The operation did not detect any trace of the child....

In September 2016, police informed Kerry Needham that they had learned that a man from Kos had said that Konstantinos Barkas, a digger operator (by now deceased), had told him that Ben had died in an accident, and that Barkas had covered the body up. Police hoped shortly to start a new search for remains, in a different area from the one searched nearly four years earlier.
----------

I read yesterday that this latest venture is being funded by the Home Office - just like Operation Grange.

Sorry but being an inveterate cynic, I can't see this as anything but a cosmetic exercise to mirror Operation Grange and thus exonerate the UK establishment for prioritizing the case of Madeleine McCann's disappearance.  I hope I'm wrong!

As an aside, would the police really tell the mother of a missing child to expect the worst - like her son might have been crushed to death by a JCB leaving only bone fragments?  Would they be so cruel before having more concrete information, i.e. post dig?

Déjà vu..

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by jeanmonroe on 27.09.16 13:03

Possibly, getting Kerry 'out of our hair' thus leaving only ONE 'game/missing youngster/abroad' in town..........'our Madeleine'!

What with ex DS Fulcher 'saying' C Halliwell may well be 'responsible' for the 'disappearance' of Claudia Lawrence, the other very high profile 'missing person', it's looking like 'our Madeleine' will be the 'only' story, for the UK Madia and TV 'sofa land' left to erm,... 'support'!

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Ben Needham-Police search

Post by willowthewisp on 27.09.16 13:10

Hi Verdi, I agree there is an awful lot of TV,News Paper exposure at present on the disappearance of Ben Needham from Twenty Five years ago,July 1991.
My thoughts and empathy go out to Kerry and family at this present moment,surely there is no need to have such"Graphic exposure"of the analysis of the Police procedure in this search,which could show a bit more decorum on such a sensitive matter and to have acted with more respect on a possible tragic accident event?

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by MayMuse on 27.09.16 13:15

@Verdi wrote:Ben Needham wikipedia entry..

In October 2012, police from the United Kingdom travelled to Greece to search an area that they believed might contain Ben Needham's remains. On 19 October, Greek police, assisted by a team of specialist search advisors from South Yorkshire Police, began an operation to examine the grounds of the property from which Ben disappeared.
The very same grounds which they are investigating now? 
The operation, involving geophysical survey equipment, forensic archaeologists and human remains detection (HRD) dogs, was triggered by a police line of inquiry into whether Ben had been accidentally buried as a result of an excavator driver dumping building rubble nearby. The operation did not detect any trace of the child....
Nothing detected, yet again searching the same area, notably digging ? 
In September 2016, police informed Kerry Needham that they had learned that a man from Kos had said that Konstantinos Barkas, a digger operator (by now deceased), had told him that Ben had died in an accident, and that Barkas had covered the body up. Police hoped shortly to start a new search for remains, in a different area from the one searched nearly four years earlier.
In a different area, yet reports show they are investigating by the home? 
what about the farmland (Barkas) 

----------

I read yesterday that this latest venture is being funded by the Home Office - just like Operation Grange.
The funding was extended, originally granted after Kerry fought for it. 
Sorry but being an inveterate cynic, I can't see this as anything but a cosmetic exercise to mirror Operation Grange and thus exonerate the UK establishment for prioritizing the case of Madeleine McCann's disappearance.  I hope I'm wrong!
It could be, if so then they could do a better job of it! Then again I do not believe everything we read or  see is connected to or should be compared to the McCann case. 
As an aside, would the police really tell the mother of a missing child to expect the worst - like her son might have been crushed to death by a JCB leaving only bone fragments?  Would they be so cruel before having more concrete information, i.e. post dig? This is what I found most disturbing, and agree it is premature and distasteful. Did they say the same to Madeleine's parents when they dug in PDL? No! 

Déjà vu..

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Ref;Ben Needham,Police search

Post by willowthewisp on 27.09.16 14:12

Hi Maymuse,thanks for adding to Verdi's article, you are spot on in so many ways at the way the MSM are treating Both family's in entirely different ways,yet "both Children"Ben and Madeleine are presumed missing,but the South Yorkshire Police have told the Needham family to prepare for the worst outcome of little Ben?
Then we have our Favourite Commander,Sir Bernard Hogan Howe,Operation Grange,tippy,toeing MSM/LBC comments about the possible demise of Madeleine,who could still be alive according to Bernard?
Such discrimination to both still missing children.

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Doug D on 27.09.16 16:03

‘The British Ambassador for Greece, John Kittmer, personally rang Mrs Needham to offer his comfort and support.’
   
At least it wasn’t John Buck, but really?

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by MayMuse on 27.09.16 18:16

@Doug D wrote:‘The British Ambassador for Greece, John Kittmer, personally rang Mrs Needham to offer his comfort and support.’
   
At least it wasn’t John Buck, but really?
Really? But Is he out in Kos supporting Kerry at this time? 
Has the Prime Minister called her? 
Are sky news et al there or are they still trying to book a flight?

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by aquila on 27.09.16 18:50

Wait, be patient, wait for the findings, wait for the Press articles reporting forensic reports, wait for someone to be charged with the death of Ben Needham.

Then wait a bit more. Live through the bluster. Live through the headlines. Then wait for something meaningful to happen.

Then wait a bit more.
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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Tony Bennett on 27.09.16 19:06

@Verdi wrote:----------

I read yesterday that this latest venture is being funded by the Home Office - just like Operation Grange.

Sorry but being an inveterate cynic, I can't see this as anything but a cosmetic exercise to mirror Operation Grange and thus exonerate the UK establishment for prioritizing the case of Madeleine McCann's disappearance.  I hope I'm wrong!
@ Verdi        I don't think you need to be a cynic to be deeply suspicious about the newly-alleged circumstances of Ben's disappearance. 

Inevitably others will think similar thoughts to yours.

It's the plausibility of the account that troubles me:

...21-month-old walks over rough terrain - because he sees a digger, or an interesting building site?

...digger/bulldozer driver doesn't see him?????

...runs him over and kills him in error?

...cover up his death for 24 years?

...whispers this secret to his friend while lying in bed dying of cancer?

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been used for all sorts of purposes:

* To promote the Missing People charity

* To promote the E.U. 'Amber Alert' scheme

* To push the microchipping agenda

* To advance the case for restricting freedom of the print media

* To suggest imprisoning nasty trolls on the internet

* To call for restrictions on the internet

* To make a lot of extra money for newspaper owners and TV shows.

Who knows to what use the disappearance of Ben Needham could yet be put?

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by MayMuse on 27.09.16 19:23

@aquila wrote:Wait, be patient, wait for the findings, wait for the Press articles reporting forensic reports, wait for someone to be charged with the death of Ben Needham.

Then wait a bit more. Live through the bluster. Live through the headlines. Then wait for something meaningful to happen.

Then wait a bit more
Kerry and her family have waited long enough for something "meaningful to happen" don't you think? 
They have lived through all these years waiting and hoping. Through the headlines, the quiet sad times and the bluster. 
Ben was her baby, not just a name on a missing poster.  
She has never stopped searching or seeking, neither has she made millions in his name. 
I pray and hope that news comes swiftly for the family, the reports/ forensics etc may come to nothing or they may reveal an answer; either way where does that leave her? 

Still waiting, still missing!

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by aquila on 27.09.16 20:20

Scotland Yard goes to Praia da Luz and digs up an area of land.

Another UK police constabulary goes to Kos and digs up an area of land.

UK Press reports that Kos dig will take twelve days due to fact area is of archaeological importance (I lived in Greece and believe me there is no archaeological importance on a building site).

Two UK constabularies are involved with searching for a missing child abroad.

Neither constabulary has come up with the goods to secure a prosecution.
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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Roxyroo on 27.09.16 20:34

@jeanmonroe wrote:
@MayMuse wrote:The family must be going out of their minds, if Kerry had more official investigative help sooner maybe what happened to Ben could have been concluded much earlier. To live through two decades not knowing does not bear thinking about. I hope the family are able to find some form of peace after all this is finished.

"if Kerry had more official investigative help...."

IF Kerry had been named 'Kate', if Kerry had been a 'doctor/gp', if Kerry had 'unlimited' HO millions, of UK taxpayers money, allocated to her police 'force', to fund, without question, a full time 'team' of 38, solely dedicated, Ben 'cops' and 'staff', for over 5 years, yeah,.....................'IF ONLY!'


And if it had happened now in the internet and social media age

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Tony Bennett on 27.09.16 20:46

@MayMuse wrote:
She has never stopped searching or seeking, neither has she made millions in his name. 
Actually, no-one knows how much Kerry Needham has raised - and she has been raising money for 25 years.

The McCanns' fund-raising site, the 'Find Madeleine Fund', at least files annual returns, albeit they are as opaque as they come.

Kerry Needham's website changes from time to time. Here is its latest version, complete with Donate Button and even good quality (blue) wristbands:
 
http://www.helpfindben.co.uk/

The site has been criticised as 'tacky' by some in the past.

It is mystery what the money raised is spent on - just like the Madeleine Fund is a mystery.

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Verdi on 27.09.16 20:53

A minor point maybe but I wasn't sure whether Kerry Needham was on holiday on the island of Kos with her relations, as reported by the UK media, or whether she lived there.

According to Kerry Needham's BOOK - she went there to live so why were the South Yorkshire police involved in the first place.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong - if she lived there, her son's disappearance would be a case for the Greek police alone.

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by MayMuse on 27.09.16 21:58

@Verdi wrote:A minor point maybe but I wasn't sure whether Kerry Needham was on holiday on the island of Kos with her relations, as reported by the UK media, or whether she lived there.

According to Kerry Needham's BOOK - she went there to live so why were the South Yorkshire police involved in the first place.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong - if she lived there, her son's disappearance would be a case for the Greek police alone.
I think because the South Yorkshire police are close to where Kerry comes from and lives. 
if I recall correctly this investigation was approved after Kerry fought (via her MP) for assistance and funding the same as the McCanns were having. Over the years she has funded it herself and I don't think that the Greek police got anywhere ?  Stand to be corrected. However, if the jurisdiction was for that particular country to investigate then why didn't the UK keep their nose out with the McCanns? 
We may have had closure by now if they had left Amaral on the case! 
Just found a couple of links, one is a thread on the forum 
https://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t8770-what-has-cameron-done

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ben-needhams-mum-over-moon-4930261

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Roxyroo on 27.09.16 22:35

@MayMuse wrote:
@Verdi wrote:A minor point maybe but I wasn't sure whether Kerry Needham was on holiday on the island of Kos with her relations, as reported by the UK media, or whether she lived there.

According to Kerry Needham's BOOK - she went there to live so why were the South Yorkshire police involved in the first place.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong - if she lived there, her son's disappearance would be a case for the Greek police alone.
I think because the South Yorkshire police are close to where Kerry comes from and lives. 
if I recall correctly this investigation was approved after Kerry fought (via her MP) for assistance and funding the same as the McCanns were having. Over the years she has funded it herself and I don't think that the Greek police got anywhere ?  Stand to be corrected. However, if the jurisdiction was for that particular country to investigate then why didn't the UK keep their nose out with the McCanns? 
We may have had closure by now if they had left Amaral on the case! 
Just found a couple of links, one is a thread on the forum 
https://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t8770-what-has-cameron-done

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ben-needhams-mum-over-moon-4930261

And did they both not still have British passports, AFAIK it was her mum and dads move and she went over with Ben not having decided yet to stay. Therefore Ben still UK citizen?

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Tony Bennett on 27.09.16 23:02

@Verdi wrote:A minor point maybe but I wasn't sure whether Kerry Needham was on holiday on the island of Kos with her relations, as reported by the UK media, or whether she lived there.

According to Kerry Needham's BOOK - she went there to live so why were the South Yorkshire police involved in the first place.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong - if she lived there, her son's disappearance would be a case for the Greek police alone.
Not sure of exact dates, but the outline is this:

* Kerry Needham's father was in the building trade

* His wife was fed up with living in England and thought living on a Greek island would be a lovely change

* Eventually Kerry's father gave into the pressure and said 'Let's go'

* They went out and started a major renovation of the property. I think Stephen went out with them  

* A few months later, Kerry decided to join them, taking Ben. She had split up with Ben's father who IIRC was called Simon

* After she arrived at Kos, Kerry got a job in a hotel, mainly working behind the bar. She had only been there a few weeks when Ben was reported missing

* The Greek police interrogated Stephen as a suspect. For reasons I've given upthread and elsewhere, they were sure that Stephen must know exactly what happened to Ben

* All the Needham family are British subjects/citizens

* The British police have become involved as the result of Kerry's persistent campaigning

* In her book Kerry makes a torrent of allegations against the 'hostile' Greek police, accusing them of gross incompetence and 'wasting time' interrogating Stephen when they should have been out searching for Ben

* A Guardian journalist wrote a very long article on the case (IIRC in 2009) and was mystified as to what really happened. By a process of elimination, she came to the conclusion, totally unevidenced, that Ben had wandered off up the hill (in the intense midday, July, Mediterranean heat) and had fallen down one of the many disused mineshafts in the area. IMHO it was not a first-rate piece of analysis

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by sallypelt on 27.09.16 23:06

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@Verdi wrote:A minor point maybe but I wasn't sure whether Kerry Needham was on holiday on the island of Kos with her relations, as reported by the UK media, or whether she lived there.

According to Kerry Needham's BOOK - she went there to live so why were the South Yorkshire police involved in the first place.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong - if she lived there, her son's disappearance would be a case for the Greek police alone.
Not sure of exact dates, but the outline is this:

* Kerry Needham's father was in the building trade

* His wife was fed up with living in England and thought living on a Greek island would be a lovely change

* Eventually Kerry's father gave into the pressure and said 'Let's go'

* They went out and started a major renovation of the property. I think Stephen went out with them  

* A few months later, Kerry decided to join them, taking Ben. She had split up with Ben's father who IIRC was called Simon

* After she arrived at Kos, Kerry got a job in a hotel, mainly working behind the bar. She had only been there a few weeks when Ben was reported missing

* The Greek police interrogated Stephen as a suspect. For reasons I've given upthread and elsewhere, they were sure that Stephen must know exactly what happened to Ben

* All the Needham family are British subjects/citizens

* The British police have become involved as the result of Kerry's persistent campaigning

* In her book Kerry makes a torrent of allegations against the 'hostile' Greek police, accusing them of gross incompetence and 'wasting time' interrogating Stephen when they should have been out searching for Ben

* A Guardian journalist wrote a very long article on the case (IIRC in 2009) and was mystified as to what really happened. By a process of elimination, she came to the conclusion, totally unevidenced, that Ben had wandered off up the hill (in the intense midday, July, Mediterranean heat) and had fallen down one of the many disused mineshafts in the area. IMHO it was not a first-rate piece of analysis
When Ben Needham disappeared from a farmhouse on the Greek island of Kos, in July 1991, while being looked after by his grandparents, the reaction was very different. He was 21 months old, as blond and photogenic as Madeleine McCann, but this was before mobile phones, the internet, the instant transmission of news; before Princess Diana's death legitimised the public emotion that accompanies so many catastrophes. And Kerry Needham and Simon Ward, an unmarried couple from a Sheffield housing estate, didn't have the same appeal as the professional, middle-class McCanns.

I met the Needhams in September 1993. By then, their story was only sporadically in the news. I had been in Crete that summer with my two-year-old son. Haunted by Ben Needham's story, I never let him out of my sight. One afternoon, in a small village, I was chatting to two old women outside a café when a child playing nearby caught my eye. He had tawny blond hair, pale eyes and a T-shirt with "Kos" written on it. He didn't look Greek. One of the women said he came from a villa a few yards away, but nobody knew the people who lived there.

I took a photograph of the boy and sent it to the Needhams via South Yorkshire Police. It wasn't Ben. In September, I went to see the Needhams in their council house in Sheffield to interview them for the Guardian. They were easy to find; journalists could ring them directly and go and see them. They've always hoped publicity will keep Ben in the public's thoughts.

In 1993, Kerry Needham, Ben's mother, was 21. She was thin, quiet and withdrawn. Her father, Eddie, did the talking. Her mother, Christine, kept out of the way; she let Eddie deal with the press. Since then I have stayed in touch with the Needhams. In 1996 I worked on a Channel 4 documentary about Ben's disappearance, and I have written about them periodically. Kerry Needham's was never a household name. In some ways this was a good thing - she didn't suffer the constant pressure of media scrutiny that the McCanns did - but it had its downside: the story slipped out of sight, she and Ben were almost forgotten. But when Madeleine McCann disappeared, the press remembered Kerry and bombarded her with calls. The attention brought a rush of emotions.

"I was devastated for the McCanns," she told me last July, "but it wiped me out to the point where I needed tablets again. One day I did 27 interviews. Watching them on television took me back - living that day again. And it made me bitter and angry because the official help that they got was unbelievable: the British ambassador gave a statement at a press conference, British police officers flying over, a visit with the Pope, phone calls from Gordon Brown..."

Gordon Brown was reported to have intervened when the McCanns were frustrated by lack of progress in the investigation. Encouraged by this, Kerry wrote to Gordon Brown. It took him three months to respond and his reply, when it came, gave her no hope. "He told me what the British authorities had done in all these years, but nothing about what could be done. I know what's been done and it's not enough. He wrote that the Greek authorities would reopen the case if there was a promising new line of enquiry." In her letter Kerry told him that a white car had been seen in the area the day Ben disappeared, and the police knew who owned it, but that there has been no conclusive investigation into it. She was surprised Brown didn't pick up on this.

She also wrote to her local MP, David Blunkett, in November, clearly spelling out the uninvestigated lead. He responded positively, saying he would approach the Home and Foreign Secretaries to contact Interpol and pressurise the Greek authorities to look at this "additional potential lead". Kerry then had a letter from the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, in which she said she had passed the information on to the chief constable of South Yorkshire Police.

"I've gone round the houses and been sent back to South Yorkshire Police. It still doesn't give me the answer I want, but I'll continue to push for Ben. They're still not telling me if this can be investigated or if Ben's case can be reinvestigated from the start."

In January 2008 Kerry was contacted by a television director, who was making a documentary about the McCanns. As Kerry remembers it, she was asked if she would like to meet Kate McCann; she said yes, as long as there were no cameras, no reporters, that they could meet as one bereft mother with another. But the meeting never took place. When I spoke to Clarence Mitchell in November 2008, he said that the film director hadn't asked Kerry if she wanted to meet Kate McCann, but whether she would appear in the documentary as the mother of a lost child. "Kate finds the idea of meeting a parent in that position quite daunting," he told me then.

"[Kerry] has been living with it for 18 years and the idea of facing it as long and stoically as Kerry has is a bit daunting. It's not that she doesn't want to meet her, she's sure she's a lovely person and maybe one day she will feel like it. But she doesn't want to face a lifetime without finding Madeleine."

So when a letter arrived out of the blue on 24 January from Kate McCann, Kerry was amazed.

"I thought it was sweet of her. I didn't think she'd ever get in contact with me. I was really moved, it's a really heartfelt letter. She'd wanted to be in touch with me, but had been scared of having to admit that Madeleine's disappearance might end up like Ben's. Nobody wants to think a child could be missing for years and years. If the boot had been on the other foot I wouldn't have wanted to get in touch with somebody whose child had been missing for all these years because it would give you no hope. You'd think, is that me in 18 years?"

As banal as it seems, this is the one question you have to ask: how have Kerry and her family endured the years without Ben? "We've survived," Kerry said. "We've all found a way. I don't know what way it is - but a way of coping with it. We've found the strength to live and cope and we'll never get over it even though we deal with it. But we can never understand it."

This is the story of how these 18 years have been for the family since Ben disappeared. There is never a day, Kerry says, that Ben isn't in her thoughts. If she believed he were dead it might be easier. There would be a focus for that grief, a conclusion. But her family is convinced that Ben was snatched, and Kerry's instincts tell her that her son is alive out there somewhere.

Ben, who in his absence is the epicentre of his family, would now be 19. In 2003 the Metropolitan Police released a digitally enhanced photograph of how he might look at 13: a smiling butter-blond boy who didn't resemble anyone in his family. A second digital photograph, in which he slightly resembles Kerry's brother Stephen, was made in 2007, when he would have been 18. It has the unsettling qualities of both a passport photo and a criminal photofit.

Ben was born in October 1989 when Kerry was 17. She had met his father, Simon Ward, when she was 15 and still at school. The Needhams come from South Yorkshire: Eddie Needham, a builder by trade, is from Chapeltown, near Sheffield, and Christine is from Thorpe Hesley, outside Rotherham. They met as teenagers and married soon afterwards. In the early 1980s, they moved to Chapel St Leonards, near Skegness. At first they lived on the caravan site; Eddie worked on a building site and collected scrap metal; Christine worked in a chip shop, then ran a café. They did well and bought a house.

In 1990, Christine's sister treated the family to their first foreign holiday - on the Greek island of Kos. Christine fell in love with the island and with life in the sun. At the end of that year, the Needhams sold everything, bought an old Land Rover and a caravan, and set off to live on Kos with their two sons, Danny, then 11, and Stephen, 17. Kerry stayed in Sheffield, where she had moved with Simon, missing her family and hating their dingy flat. Simon worked away from home and she was often alone. Eventually, in April 1991, she and Ben, then 18 months old, went to join them. She had never even been to London, let alone on a plane or to a foreign country.

On Kos, Kerry blossomed. She lived in a bedsit, shared the care of Ben with her mother and found work at a hotel serving snacks around the pool. She felt justified in leaving Simon behind. Kerry told me that Simon left when she was five months pregnant. "I had no money, living on bread and jam, no life whatsoever," she said. He didn't come back until Ben was born.

Christine, who had been working with Kerry at the hotel, gave up her job to take care of Ben. Kerry upgraded from the bedsit to a small holiday flat and Ben stayed with her or the rest of the family in the caravan which was parked in an olive grove in an area called Paradisi, near the beach, about 10 minutes' walk from Kos town.

Eddie and Stephen had found work renovating a small farmhouse a couple of miles outside the town in a hilly area known as Herakles. The owner had told them that if they did it up, the Needhams could live in the house rent-free, in return for looking after it when he was away.

On 24 July, Christine, Eddie, Danny, Stephen and the owner of the house, Michaelis Kypreos, were in the farmhouse eating lunch. Ben was playing on the terrace just outside the door. He was running in and out, pouring water over his head and messing about with a stick. They could see through the open door on to the terrace where Ben was playing. There was a tree on which they'd hung his wet shorts.

At about two-thirty, Stephen left on his moped to go for a swim, a beer and a shower at Kerry's flat. Ben wanted to go with him; he'd been on the bike before, and now he wanted to go with his uncle. A few minutes after Stephen left, Christine registered that Ben had gone quiet and went outside. He was nowhere to be seen. She, Eddie, Danny and Michaelis Kypreos searched up and down the lane, in the field by the house, in a nearby orange grove, calling for him, looking anywhere he could conceivably be. When they couldn't find him, they assumed he must have gone with Stephen; it was the logical explanation. They thought Stephen had taken Ben for a ride and would bring him back.

About an hour later, thinking Stephen had gone to the caravan instead of coming back to the farmhouse, or had gone to Kerry's flat, Christine walked back to Paradisi, while Eddie, Danny and Kypreos stayed working on the roof.

In the early evening Eddie went to the caravan expecting to find Ben with Christine. He wasn't, so Eddie went to Kerry's flat, thinking he'd be there. Stephen was there, but without Ben. Eddie raced back to the caravan to tell Christine and then went back to Herakles in the Land Rover. Stephen took Christine to the police on his bike and then joined his father. It was several hours since Ben had vanished by the time the police took Christine to the hotel to tell Kerry what had happened. Kerry had finished her shift and was sitting by the swimming pool when her mother arrived, sobbing, to tell her Ben had disappeared.

The police took them both to Herakles to join Eddie and the boys. They searched, going to places that Ben could never have got to, covering some 15 acres, through olive groves and pomegranate orchards, riverbeds and long grass. The next day Kos police began their investigation and their first questions were directed at the Needhams. They were immediately hostile to Kerry. "They banged their hands on the table," she told me. "They shouted, 'Where is boy? How can you lose a baby? Why do you go to work? You must not love your child.'"

She had been unaware of the image local people had of her. They had always seemed friendly, but, after Ben disappeared, island gossip found its way back to her - she was an unfit mother, a slut. Why wasn't she married? Why did she work and not look after her child? Her family lived like gypsies in a caravan. Kerry didn't love Ben, she'd given him away, she'd sold him...

The sightings started within 24 hours. The first was a child seen buying sweets at the airport, but news of it took three days to get to the Needhams. Over the next few years there were to be hundreds of reports of small blond children in situations perceived as suspicious. It took a few days for the news of Ben's disappearance to filter through to the UK press. The first to knock at the caravan door was a reporter from the Sun. In the next few weeks, reporters came from other newspapers, and from TV news stations; but there was none of the frenzied coverage that engulfed the McCanns.

The family stayed on Kos for two months after Ben disappeared. Then Eddie rang the British Embassy in Athens to ask if they could be repatriated. There had been no progress with the investigation and the strain on them was unbearable. He was told they would have to be means-tested and it might take a month.

So, desperate to get back to England, they sold everything and arrived home at the end of September, broke. They went back to Yorkshire, living with various relatives in Sheffield, before being housed by the council.

The second time I met Kerry was in 1996. I was working on a Channel 4 documentary about Ben. The silent, passive girl who had sat in the lee of her father's body three years before had become spiky and edgy. By this time, she had a daughter, Leighanna. She and Simon Ward had drifted back together and Kerry had got pregnant.

Leighanna was born in February 1994; not long after, Simon went to prison for five years, charged with robbery. It was a long time before Kerry had been able to articulate what those early months had been like after Ben went missing. She and Simon were living together again. "I used to get up in the middle of the night and it was like I was hallucinating that Ben was actually there. We'd decorated a bedroom for him and I used to go in there and pretend to rock him to sleep because I thought I could hear him crying. I had a psychiatric nurse who was wonderful, and she said that having the bedroom there was making it worse. Obviously I was dreaming that I could hear him crying and I was just automatically getting up in the night and going to rock the baby."

She made four suicide attempts. She overdosed on antidepressants and attempted to cut her wrists, but says she knows she didn't really want to die. It was more that edging around death brought temporary relief from the pain. It had been people close to her who suggested she have another baby. "They said those maternal instincts that woke me in the middle of the night would be of use if I had another baby."

She looked at photographs of her son and at snapshots tourists had taken of children they thought might be Ben, but never were. She wrote him letters. A few times she roused herself and went with television crews or journalists following up sightings of Ben. In 1992, for example, she went on a trip to Izmir, in Turkey. The photo of the child had been very like Ben, but the child was a girl. Kerry broke down. The child's mother passed her daughter to her, letting Kerry hold her.

There were hundreds of sightings, none of them Ben: BLOND BOY BEGGING ON ATHENS UNDERGROUND, BLOND BOY CLEANING CAR WINDOW IN ATHENS WATCHED BY DARK-SKINNED WELL-DRESSED MAN. The expectation and disappointment of these trips threatened Kerry's sanity. Eddie encouraged her to stay out of it and let him rove the world looking for Ben instead.

The arrival of a new baby, physically similar to the one who was lost, had brought Kerry out of her paralysis, but Leighanna couldn't replace Ben and Kerry found it hard to be her mother. She went through the motions of motherhood but it brought her no joy. "I couldn't be anyone," she says, "only Ben Needham's mum. But I couldn't be his mum because he wasn't there. I couldn't cope with being me, I couldn't be a real person. I couldn't cope with anything. It was tough on Leighanna and tough on me. I plodded on but it was a really awful time."

By 1996, Leighanna was living with Eddie and Christine. They were looking after their granddaughter but Kerry felt they were furious with her. "We have always been very close," said Christine, "the family has been entwined, the bonds are so strong, and we've cried and cried and hugged and hugged and been almost too close or hated each other." They were afraid it would appear as if she had abandoned her child and public perceptions of Ben's case would suffer as a consequence. They were horrified when a story appeared in the Sheffield Star: KERRY GIVES UP HER DAUGHTER. Two days later, there was another in the Sunday Express: "I DON'T WANT MY SON BACK," SAYS MOTHER AS SHE SHUNS NEW BABY. Kerry had spoken unguardedly to reporters. It was true that she couldn't cope with her new baby, but not that she didn't want Ben back.


Link to the full article: http://benneedham18.blogspot.co.uk/

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Dud leads and the dead

Post by Letterwriter on 27.09.16 23:11

What is it about these cases?  Where only the dud leads are allowed to be investigated.

A (conveniently) recently dead builder backed over him in his truck my arse. 

The "revelations" don't come out for 20 years then the second someone dies, out it comes - it's becoming a bit of a public sector cliche - and not in a good way.
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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Verdi on 27.09.16 23:14

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@Verdi wrote:A minor point maybe but I wasn't sure whether Kerry Needham was on holiday on the island of Kos with her relations, as reported by the UK media, or whether she lived there.

According to Kerry Needham's BOOK - she went there to live so why were the South Yorkshire police involved in the first place.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong - if she lived there, her son's disappearance would be a case for the Greek police alone.
Not sure of exact dates, but the outline is this:

* Kerry Needham's father was in the building trade

* His wife was fed up with living in England and thought living on a Greek island would be a lovely change

* Eventually Kerry's father gave into the pressure and said 'Let's go'

* They went out and started a major renovation of the property. I think Stephen went out with them  

* A few months later, Kerry decided to join them, taking Ben. She had split up with Ben's father who IIRC was called Simon

* After she arrived at Kos, Kerry got a job in a hotel, mainly working behind the bar. She had only been there a few weeks when Ben was reported missing

* The Greek police interrogated Stephen as a suspect. For reasons I've given upthread and elsewhere, they were sure that Stephen must know exactly what happened to Ben

* All the Needham family are British subjects/citizens

* The British police have become involved as the result of Kerry's persistent campaigning

* In her book Kerry makes a torrent of allegations against the 'hostile' Greek police, accusing them of gross incompetence and 'wasting time' interrogating Stephen when they should have been out searching for Ben

* A Guardian journalist wrote a very long article on the case (IIRC in 2009) and was mystified as to what really happened. By a process of elimination, she came to the conclusion, totally unevidenced, that Ben had wandered off up the hill (in the intense midday, July, Mediterranean heat) and had fallen down one of the many disused mineshafts in the area. IMHO it was not a first-rate piece of analysis
Precisely! 

I think my point has been misconstrued - Kerry Needham went to live on the island of Kos when her son disappeared, therefore the case at the time was no concern of the UK police.  It was a matter for the Greek police alone.  Whether they were British subjects or not makes no difference to the investigation of the child's disappearance.

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Verdi on 27.09.16 23:19

Ben by Kerry Needham


Hard cover 320 pages.  Published 1sy May 2013 by Ebury Press

Synopsis

In 1991 Kerry and her son Ben followed Kerry’s parents to live on the Greek island of Kos.

On July 24th she was at work when her mum Christine arrived crying uncontrollably. Ben had been playing outside, and then disappeared. Someone had taken Ben. In her heartbreaking memoir, Kerry describes the agony of being initially suspected by the police, which meant the closure of airport and ferry terminals were delayed, the early sightings that raised their hopes, and the hoaxes which dashed them completely. And the unbearable pain of knowing her baby boy was alone somewhere without his mum.

Back in the UK, the long years of waiting and hoping have been difficult on the whole family. Kerry has raised her daughter, Leighanna, while following up more than 300 leads. In 2011 they had a breakthrough when South Yorkshire Police agreed to work with the Greek authorities to reopen the case. The chance that Ben will read about himself and come home becomes more real every day. All of Kerry's royalties from the sale of this book will go toward the Help Find Ben campaign.
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Give me strength - who can't see a copycat scenario here.

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Re: ***'Kos dig' starts 26 Sep 2016*** (was: Kerry Needham 'prepared for worst' by investigators)

Post by Tony Bennett on 27.09.16 23:37

BBC reporting that the South Yorkshire police have found something of 'slight interest' - a small piece of cloth:

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-37482793

And...er...that's it so far

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