Sheffield & South Yorkshire

'Ben Needham's toy car' found in Kos searches

Ben Needham
Image caption Ben Needham vanished on the Greek island of Kos in July 1991 when he was 21 months old

A toy car thought to belong to missing toddler Ben Needham was found during police searches on Kos, according to the Find Ben Needham campaign.

The 21-month-old, from Sheffield, went missing on the Greek island in 1991.

Police said on Monday they believed he died as a result of an accident on the day he disappeared.

Ben's sister, Leigh-Anna Needham, told ITV's Good Morning Britain the car had been shown to them and her grandmother thought it could have been Ben's.

"She is 90% sure, it is similar but we cannot be 100% sure," she said.

Ben's mum 'would tear up island'

Read more about this and other stories from Sheffield and South Yorkshire

New searches on Kos, where the Needham family were renovating a farmhouse in 1991, were prompted by fresh information given to South Yorkshire Police.

A friend of a digger driver, who was clearing land with an excavator on the day the toddler went missing, said the man may have been responsible for Ben's death.

The driver, Konstantinos Barkas, died of cancer in 2015.

The yellow car is believed to have been found shortly before the searches concluded on Sunday.

Image copyright Thelittlethingsnmore/eBay
Image caption The car found in Kos is thought to be similar to this one
Image caption Searches on the Greek island of Kos focused on two sites and have now concluded

Det Insp Jon Cousins, who is leading the inquiry, said after 21 days of searching it was his "professional belief" Ben had died in an accident.

Leigh-Anna Needham said she understood why the police had come to that conclusion but she was not completely convinced.

"Without definite proof there is still hope," she said.

"We were told to prepare for the worst. We thought they were going to find him and bring him back and we would have to deal with the grieving process.

"But there is still hope and I will fight tooth and nail to get to the bottom of this.

"It has destroyed my family and I am determined to find out what happened on that day."

South Yorkshire Police said the investigation remained open and any further leads in the case would be fully investigated.

Image caption Ms Needham told the BBC there was "not enough evidence" to believe her brother was dead

Ms Needham told BBC Look North: "Every time the phone rings your heart sinks, you don't want to actually admit that they were ever going to find anything to suggest that Ben may no longer be alive.

"I can't say the word [dead], it makes me feel physically sick.

"There's not enough evidence for me as yet to give up and to believe that he died that day. Until I have solid evidence, ie remains, that's when the grieving process will start."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites