Ben Needham disappearance: Police want to demolish farmhouse in bid to uncover remains of missing toddler

The toddler disappeared near the village of Iraklise on the Greek island of Kos in 1991

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The Independent Online

Police investigating the case of missing toddler Ben Needham want to demolish a farmhouse as part of their ongoing search for his remains on the Greek island of Kos.

The toddler from Sheffield went missing near the village of Iraklise in 1991 but the case was recently reopened after new information emerged.

British officers have already conducted extensive excavations in the area and are now entering talks with the owners of the property, which was built after Ben’s disappearance.

“I’m in negotiation with the family that owns the farmhouse,” said Detective Inspector Jon Cousins.

“There is reason for me to consider removing a small part of this farmhouse in order so I can be sure that I have not missed any opportunity to find the answers that I need to.”

Mr Cousins said it was a difficult negotiation as many members of the family had grown up there, but added that he “fully understood” their concerns.

The search was reported to be back on schedule after it was delayed following the discovery of a suspected ancient burial site last week.

Investigators are going to great lengths to ensure the undertaking is as thorough as possible and have even had a pair of child's sandals – similar to those worn by Ben – custom-made as they seek to retrace his steps. 

The sandals, believed to resemble Ben’s, were made for the investigation (South Yorkshire Police)

Police believe debris they found in 2012 near the farmhouse could once have been parts of Ben's footwear, but were unable to extract a DNA profile.

Forensic experts will now try to match ‘items of interest’ found on Kos this week with those identified four years ago.

New search begins for missing toddler Ben Needham on island of Kos.mp4

But Ben’s family have mixed feelings about the developments. His sister, Leighanna Needham, told Good Morning Britain: “None of us want to believe that we were going to find something there because that’s 25 years of fighting and pain and hurt that could have been ended 25 years ago.

“We're a family that’s lived in hope. And what do you do when that hope’s all gone? How do you continue when there’s nothing left?”

The excavation began after evidence emerged that the toddler may have been killed and buried there, yards from where he vanished while his grandfather was renovating a property.

A 19-strong team from South Yorkshire Police was sent to the island to investigate claims that the toddler might have been killed by a digger driver working on the 2.5 acre site.

A local man named Konstantinos Barkas, also known as Dino, was clearing land with an excavator close to where the youngster was playing on the day he vanished and may be responsible for his death, a friend of the builder reportedly told police following a TV appeal in May. Mr Barkas died of stomach cancer last year.

Press Association contributed to this report