Corrie Mckeague's mother apologises for 'upsetting' supporters

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Media captionCorrie Mckeague's mother has spoken of her "agony" over her son's disappearance.

The mother of missing airman Corrie Mckeague has apologised for any upset caused to 120,000 Facebook users who have followed her story.

Nicola Urquhart's comments came after it emerged "devastating" mistakes led to delays in searching a landfill site where police believe her son's remains will be found.

Supporters on social media responded by telling her "never be sorry".

Suffolk Police are currently searching the landfill site near Cambridge.

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Mr Mckeague, 23, from Dunfermline, went missing during a night out in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk on 24 September.

He was last seen going into a loading bay, known as the "Horseshoe", which contains waste bins.

Initial records suggested a bin collected within an hour of his last sighting weighed 11kg (1st 10lb), meaning it could not have contained a person.

But on Tuesday it emerged the true weight was 100kg (15st 10lb).

Image copyright April Oliver
Image caption Corrie Mckeague, pictured with his girlfriend April Oliver, vanished from Bury St Edmunds on 24 September

The Find Corrie Facebook page set up by Mrs Urquhart has gathered 120,000 followers.

Speaking to the BBC, Mrs Urquhart said: "I'm so upset that I've brought over 120,000 people into this with us.

"I'm making other people upset because I needed their support when maybe this didn't have to happen."

Andy King, the chairman of Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue, which has been helping to try to find Mr Mckeague, said Mrs Urquhart had "nothing to apologise to anyone for".

"I think I can say on behalf of 120,000 people and certainly on behalf of the team that she doesn't need to apologise to anybody for anything that she's done.

"She's been quite amazing."

Image caption Chairman of Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue Andy King said Nicola Urquhart has been "amazing" through the course of the search

On the BBC Look East Facebook page, users told Mrs Urquhart her comments were "heartbreaking".

Melanie Turner commented: "Never feel you have upset anyone Nicola Urquhart, you have done what any mother would do!"

A response from Chloe Clark read: "We are corries army and we decided to be!! SO PLEASE don't feel bad!! My heart breaks for you."

Police said finding out about the bin weight mistake "a few weeks ago" was "sobering" and "frustrating".

It had been known that Mr Mckeague's mobile phone tracked the same route, and at the same pace, as a bin lorry since early on in the investigation.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Followers on BBC Look East's Facebook page told Mrs Urquhart there was "no need for an apology"

Searching the landfill site

  • More than 80,000 tonnes of waste was moved at the landfill site in Milton, Cambridgeshire, before the search started
  • The search team has already trawled through 60 tonnes of waste
  • It could take the team of eight trained officers up to 10 weeks to sift through the rubbish
  • The search area covers about 920 sq m (9,900 sq ft) and is up to 8m (26ft) deep
  • Searching the landfill site could cost more than £500,000 if it runs to 10 weeks.

Det Supt Katie Elliott said the line of inquiry was not pursued at the time because of the weight given and details of the waste disposal process.

"We understood it would've been such that it would've been likely that Corrie would have been identified through the processing before he could've got here.

"We've done further lines of inquiry in to that processing and we understand there is the possibility that Corrie could've got to this landfill site without having been identified through that processing."

Image copyright Suffolk Constabulary
Image caption Mr Mckeague was last seen walking into the "Horseshoe" area in Bury St Edmunds at about 03:20 BST on 24 September
Image caption A bin was emptied in the Horseshoe about an hour after Mr Mckeague was last seen on CCTV

She said the new information has come to light because of detectives "checking and re-checking".

Plans to search the landfill site started early in the new year and has taken weeks to organise, she added.

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

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

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A search of the landfill site at Milton in Cambridgeshire is under way
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The search area measures about 920 sq m (9,900 sq ft)

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