Suffolk

Missing Corrie Mckeague: Airman 'will be found in landfill'

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Media captionCorrie Mckeague landfill body find 'just a matter of time'

The mother of missing serviceman Corrie Mckeague has said it is "just a matter of time" before they find her son's remains at a landfill site.

Nicola Urquhart's comments came after it emerged a refuse vehicle, seized shortly after the RAF gunner vanished from Bury St Edmunds, was carrying a heavier load than first thought.

It was initially deemed too light to have contained a body.

Mrs Urquhart said: "We know we are going to find Corrie in the landfill."

Mr Mckeague, from Dunfermline, Fife, was last seen on a night out on 24 September.

Live: Updates on search for missing Corrie Mckeague

The lorry, which picked up bins in the area he was last seen, took a route that appeared to coincide with signals from Mr Mckeague's mobile phone, Suffolk Police said.

Early investigations found the rubbish truck was carrying 11kg (1st 10lb), but detectives have since learned it was more than 100kg (15st 10lb) - "far higher than originally thought".

The finding emerged as police began a search of a landfill site in Milton, near Cambridge.

Mrs Urquhart said: "There's just no way realistically that Corrie was not in the bin.

"Regardless of how he's ended up in there, I cannot get my head around how he's ended up in landfill.

"I don't understand how the process has allowed him to get to landfill. It was the one thing that was giving me hope that he was still alive."

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Media caption"This can really, devastatingly, only mean one thing," Corrie Mckeague's mother said

Mrs Urquhart previously reported the bin lorry went in to the "horseshoe" area of Bury St Edmunds at about 04:20 BST, just under an hour after Mr Mckeague was last seen.

Mr Mckeague's family had campaigned for the landfill to be examined early on in the investigation.

'Huge undertaking'

A search, which is expected to take up to 10 weeks, began on Monday after 8,000 tonnes of material was moved to make the site safe.

Det Supt Katie Elliott said the search was a "huge undertaking" that "still may not provide the answer as to what happened".

"But now, with new information uncovered by the officers working on the case, this is the priority," she said.

Image caption A bin was taken from the "horseshoe" area about an hour after the last sighting of Mr Mckeague

The dispute over the weight of the bin lorry - which led to the arrest of a 26-year-old man - was the result of a "genuine mistake", Det Supt Elliott said.

"The investigation has identified that the company who provided the data usually charge per collection, not per weight of load collected, and it appears that it was genuinely believed by the company that the data provided was correct.

The arrested man was held on suspicion of perverting the course of justice but has since been told no further action will be taken.

Image copyright Paperpix.uk
Image caption It took several weeks to prepare the site before officers moved in on Monday
Image copyright Suffolk Constabulary
Image caption Corrie Mckeague was last seen in Bury St Edmunds at about 03:20 BST on 24 September, in an area called "the horseshoe"

"There was no intention to mislead the investigation. However, our discovery... now puts a new emphasis on the search," Det Supt Elliott said.

Mr Mckeague, a gunner in No 2 Sqn, RAF Regiment, was based at Honington.

In January it was announced that Mr Mckeague's girlfriend, April Oliver, is pregnant with their child.

Image copyright April Oliver
Image caption April Oliver and Corrie Mckeague had been together for about five months before he disappeared

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