‘I have to believe he is still alive’: Mother of Ben Needham still searching, 30 years on

Police believe Ben had died in an accident involving a digger on the Greek island of Kos

Lamiat Sabin
Friday 23 July 2021 19:09
<p>Ben Needham was 21 months old when he went missing</p>

Ben Needham was 21 months old when he went missing

The mother of missing Ben Needham has said she will keep searching for her son, 30 years after his disappearance.

Ben was 21 months old when he went missing on the Greek island of Kos, where he was staying in a farmhouse with his grandparents.

Police believe the boy from Sheffield had died on 24 July 1991, as a result of an accident involving “heavy machinery”.

His mother, Kerry Needham, who was working at a hotel on Kos at the time of his disappearance, believes he is still alive.

She told the Daily 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.”

She said that she feels “stuck” in 1991 and has devoted three decades to the search of her son, adding: “I’ve never had any dreams or goals apart from finding Ben.”

Detectives from South Yorkshire Police carried out a three-week search of Kos in 2016.

A yellow Dinky toy car that is believed to have belonged to Ben was found during the search – that involved digging up of more than 800 tonnes of soil, in an area different to the one searched nearly four years earlier.

Police had told Ms Needham that they had learned that a man from Kos said that a digger operator called Konstantinos Barkas, who died in 2015, had told him that Ben had died in an accident, and that Barkas had hidden the toddler’s body in building waste. A body has never been found.

Barkas’s widow has said that her late husband was a “good man” who had nothing to do with Ben’s disappearance.

Detective Inspector Jon Cousins said at the time: “My team and I know that machinery, including a large digger, was used to clear an area of land on 24 July 1991, behind the farmhouse that was being renovated by the Needhams.

“It is my professional belief that Ben Needham died as a result of an accident near to the farmhouse in Iraklis where he was last seen playing.

“The events leading up to and following that incident have been explored by my team of experts to great lengths. The fact that we have not had a direct result during this visit to Kos does not preclude the facts that we know to be true.”

He said the investigation would not close and new information would be looked at, adding: “We will not stop in our quest to find further answers for Ben’s family.”

Leigh-Anna Needham had said that she understood why the police had come to their conclusion that her brother had died, but that “without definite proof there is still hope.”

Additional reporting by PA