Family goes back to Queensland where Briton disappeared

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The family of a British man who went missing while on the holiday of a lifetime to Australia was yesterday returning to the spot where he disappeared one year ago.

David Eason, now 47, from Battersea, south west London, vanished on 29 March last year while on a day trip to Fraser Island off the coast of Queensland, which is popular with tourists and backpackers.

He had become separated from a group being driven around the nature reserve. Australian police immediately launched an air-sea search, but found no trace. The lack of even the smallest trace of Mr Eason led his family to suspect he had been murdered and buried on the island.

His sister, Janice Eason, of Hayes, near Bromley, Kent, has travelled to Australia with her husband and children. They say they are increasingly frustrated that police have not launched a criminal investigation because of the absence of any hard evidence.

Before leaving, Mrs Eason said: "On the day he went missing, 1,000 people visited the island. Our aim is to get there before the influx of tourists and leaflet them and make them aware of David's situation.

"We need to find evidence to force Australian police to further their inquiries. The police do not believe David left the island. He never returned to his hotel.

"Back then, police were saying he could have gone walkabout but all those avenues closed quite quickly. As time went by, the more evident it was to us it was not a natural occurrence because nothing could explain why there was no evidence."

A Foreign Office spokesman said there had been no new information on Mr Eason's case but consular staff in Brisbane were keeping in "regular contact" with Queensland Police about the investigation.

A few weeks after the disappearance of Mr Eason, a creative director with the London advertising firm VB Communications, a nine-year-old boy was killed by dingoes on the island, leading to fears Mr Eason suffered the same fate.

But his family believe a dingo attack would have left some evidence and claim the chances of one of the animals taking on a grown man are slim.

Mrs Eason said her brother, who was unmarried, had been planning the trip for years, but only recently reached a position in his career where he could take a five-week holiday. His family have ruled out suicide, as he was financially comfortable.