Corrie McKeague told woman he had walked to airbase after night out – inquest

Mr McKeague, of Dunfermline, Fife, was 23 when he vanished in the early hours of September 24 2016 after a night out in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Corrie McKeague (Suffolk Police/PA)
Corrie McKeague (Suffolk Police/PA)

A young woman who met RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague on a night out has told an inquest that he mentioned walking home from Bury St Edmunds to his base.

Mr McKeague, of Dunfermline, Fife, was 23 when he vanished in the early hours of September 24 2016 after a night out in the Suffolk town.

The airman was stationed at RAF Honington, more than eight miles from Bury St Edmunds.

No trace of him has been found since a last sighting on CCTV at 3.25am entering a service area behind a Greggs store, and Suffolk Police believe he climbed into a bin which was then tipped into a waste lorry.

He was just really sociable - it was like he was looking for people to chat to

Alicia Gallagher

Alicia Gallagher, giving evidence to an inquest in Ipswich by video link, said she first met Mr McKeague on a night out in Bury St Edmunds in December 2015.

She said she was with her sister at Flex nightclub and saw a number of people who were in “smart dress formal wear, like tuxes”.

One of them was on his own,” she said.

“We were just out dancing really and he stayed with us for a couple of hours until closing.”

She continued: “He was actually just really friendly.

“He wasn’t flirty.

“He was just really sociable – it was like he was looking for people to chat to.”

She said that when they left, at around 4.30am, she was taking a taxi with her sister in a different direction from Mr McKeague.

Corrie McKeague (Suffolk Police/PA)

“My sister was concerned he wasn’t going home with anyone,” said Ms Gallagher.

“We offered him some money for a taxi – he did mention a base but he didn’t say which base it was.

“He said he walked… one time which my sister wasn’t happy with.

“In the end I think he just wandered off.”

She continued: “He said he had done it before, which I remember as we talked about it in the taxi home and said ‘that’s so far’.

“It’s something I remember from that night as I thought ‘that’s so far, I wouldn’t do that’, but then I’m not a young, fit male either.

“It was a striking point that he mentioned walking home, that he had done it before.”

She said she saw Mr McKeague a second time on September 23 2016 in Wetherspoons in Bury St Edmunds.

A very happy, chatty person who was always well-presented and seemed a nice guy

Aaron Figge, from Spar shop at RAF Honington

She said she was with a friend for a “casual drink” when Mr McKeague, who did not recognise her, pulled up a chair.

Ms Gallagher said he was “very friendly, very confident”.

She said when she recognised him she found a video of him with her sister on the previous night out, showed it to him, then sent her sister a Snapchat video of Mr McKeague saying hello.

She said he left after a few minutes.

Aaron Figge, who worked in the Spar shop at RAF Honington, said in a statement that Mr McKeague bought a bottle of vodka from the shop on Friday, September 23 2016.

He said Mr McKeague was among his regular customers who he “became friendly with”, describing him as “a very happy, chatty person who was always well-presented and seemed a nice guy”.

He stated he had not had a good day at work - this was not usual for Corrie as he was usually so upbeat

Aaron Figge, Spar shop

“I was aware he lived on the base as he was a regular customer,” he said.

“He asked to see various bottles of vodka and while choosing he chatted to me,” said Mr Figge.

“He stated he had not had a good day at work – this was not usual for Corrie as he was usually so upbeat.”

He said he believed Mr McKeague bought a 70cl bottle of Spar vodka, “the cheapest bottle in the store”, for between £6 and £10, and also bought cigarettes, paying by card.

“We said bye to each other and he left the shop,” he said.

The inquest, due to last for up to four weeks, continues.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in