Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Ben Needham's mother dismisses report he was buried

Kerry Needham on the island of Kos
Image caption Kerry Needham's family were renovating a farmhouse on Kos when Ben vanished

The mother of a boy who went missing in Greece 21 years ago has dismissed a report that the toddler died at the time in a building site accident.

Ben Needham, of Sheffield, went missing during a family visit to the island of Kos in 1991 when he was 21 months old.

A Daily Mirror report says Greek police believe he may have been buried under rubble near his family's farmhouse.

Kerry Needham said: "I was horrified when I saw that. I know my son is alive and well and out there somewhere."

The newspaper said Greek police wanted to excavate the now-overgrown mound of earth and rubble on a property neighbouring the farmhouse which Mrs Needham's father was renovating at the time of her son's disappearance.

However, Mrs Needham told BBC Radio Sheffield: "That mound of rubble was already there when Ben was still there.

"I find it very, very unlikely that Ben is there, unless he buried himself.

"It was a shock to my system when I saw the newspaper report this morning. It is obviously an awful thought for myself and my family to have to deal with."

Police support

She said South Yorkshire Police, who have been supporting her during her search for Ben, could not confirm the report that Greek investigators now think a full excavation should be carried out.

"If that is what the Greek police want to do, then fine. Once it is proved that Ben is not dead, as I know, then maybe the Greek police will continue in their efforts to try and find him," she said.

Mrs Needham said she was continuing to receive support "24 hours a day, seven days a week".

A South Yorkshire Police statement said: "The investigation into the disappearance of Ben Needham remains with the Greek authorities.

"Should they request any help or support from South Yorkshire Police we will look to support them where we can and within our resources.

"The force's role is primarily to provide ongoing support to Ben's family, in particular his mum Kerry.

"South Yorkshire Police continues to undertake a review of material gathered locally during the past 20 years with officers also working with other agencies to examine any material held by them that might further the review."

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