see Wikipedia →Disappearance of Ben Needham
Ben Needham (born 29 October 1989 in Sheffield) had been holidaying with his parents on Kos (to which his maternal grandparents had emigrated) in the village of Iraklise when he went missing on 24 July 1991. On the day of his disappearance Ben had been left in the care of his grandparents while his mother went to work at a local hotel. Ben had been coming in and out of the house that he was playing outside: a farmhouse the family were renovating when, at approximately 2.30pm, the adults realised he had disappeared. The family first searched the area for Ben, assuming he had wandered off, or that their teenage son, Stephen, had taken him out on his moped. When no trace of the boy was found, the police were notified. However, the police extensively questioned the Needhams, holding them as prime suspects, and delayed informing airports and docks. Eventually they widened their search for the child. In October 2012 police from the UK travelled to Greece to search an area that they believed might contain Needham's remains. On 19 October Greek police, assisted by a team of specialist search advisers from South Yorkshire Police, began an operation to examine the grounds of the property from which Ben disappeared. The operation, involving geophysical survey equipment, forensic archaeologists and Human Remains Detection (HRD) dogs, was triggered by a police line of inquiry that Ben had been accidentally buried by an excavator driver dumping building rubble nearby. The operation failed to detect any trace of the child.
Despite numerous reported sightings over the years, no trace of the British child has ever been found. It is one of the longest missing persons cases in British history.
No support for the Needham family:
Ben's mum Kerry, 42, →told ITV Calendar News the family feel abandoned by the Government and compare the lack of help they have received with official efforts to help locate three-year-old Madeleine McCann who vanished in Portugal in 2007. Kerry said: “We have seen what is available for one family of a missing child, and we have had nothing like that, nothing at all, even though there is all these comparisons between the two cases. And we're still getting nowhere and I ask why? At the time of Ben's disappearance we were abandoned. No British Ambassador turned up on Kos, not even anyone from the British Consulate. No-one was sent from the British authorities to assist us, advise us, to help us to support us - nothing.”
see e.g. →Huffington Post
Ben Needham Search Not Getting Same Resources As Madeleine McCann, Says MP Angela Smith Huffington Post UK
The search for missing Ben Needham is not being treated as seriously as that for Madeleine McCann, an MP has suggested. Labour's Angela Smith challenged David Cameron over why the Maddie search had been given extra cash - when a similar request from the Needhams had been turned down.
Ben's mother Kerry Neeham lives in Smith's Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency. Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, she said: “Two years ago, the Prime Minister rightly agreed that extra resources should be made available to assist in the search for Madeleine McCann and yet, only months later, he turned down a similar request from Kerry Needham, my constituent, whose son Ben is still missing after 22 years. Will the Prime Minister please think again and respond positively to my recent letter to him by making extra resources available to help a desperate mother to search for her son?”
Replying, Cameron said: “This is an absolutely heartbreaking case - the whole country has followed it over the years.” He promised to look carefully at Smith's letter, adding: “Obviously, it is important that the police make such decisions themselves. Governments should always stand by to help, which is what happened in the Madeleine McCann case, but I will look at what the Hon. Lady says and see what I can do.” Last month, DNA tests on a man living in Cyprus, thought to bear resemblance to missing Ben, proved negative.
see e.g → This Morning - Today on ITV 18 May 2009 at McCannFiles
Fern Britton and Phillip Schofield present as Kate and Gerry McCann mark International Missing Children's Day by appearing alongside Kerry Grist, the mother of Ben Needham who disappeared in 1991, in their only British TV interview.
see →Halifax Courier
see →The Star
The mother of Sheffield boy Ben Needham, who vanished on a Greek island 22 years ago, has accused the Prime Minister of not giving his case the same backing as that of Madeleine McCann. Kerry Needham called for the same support and financial backing offered to the Metropolitan Police, who are heading the search for Madeleine, who vanished in Portugal in 2003.
A youtube video → comparing the cases (uploaded 20.01.2008).
→The Star (updated 29-Oct-2014) “Mum of missing Ben Needham from Sheffield pleads for Government funding to help police find her son…Kerry, aged 41, from Ecclesfield, claims South Yorkshire Police applied for Home Office cash to fund the missing person investigation six months ago but has not yet had a decision. She said detectives want funding for a team to follow up new lines of inquiry in and around Kos to help find Ben, who vanished 23 years ago. She urged Prime Minister David Cameron to give the go-ahead, pointing out that the Government has already spent over £7 million on Scotland Yard’s review of the search for Madeleine McCann, who disappeared in Praia de Luz, Portugal, in 2007, just before her fourth birthday.”
→Yorkshire Post (24-Nov-2014) : “Pressure grows for decision on new probe into missing Ben Needham”
→Mirror (01-Dec-2014) : “Missing Ben Needham: Family in bid to force new probe into toddler's disappearance…..“At the time of Ben's disappearance we were abandoned. No British Ambassador turned up on Kos, not even anyone from the British Consulate. No-one was sent from the British authorities to assist us, advise us, to help us to support us - nothing.”….”
→ITV (01-Dec-2014) : “Needhams plan legal action over Government delay for inquiry funding help”
→The Guardian (15-Dec-2014) : “Family of Ben Needham to sue Home Office for funding of police operation…Ben Needham’s family is preparing to take the home secretary to court in an attempt to secure funding for British police to pursue suspects who might be linked to the toddler’s disappearance 23 years ago. South Yorkshire police requested Home Office funding 10 months ago to enable them to travel to Greece to follow up leads in the investigation, which is one of the longest running missing person’s cases in British history. But the force has heard nothing positive in response to its request. Lawyers for the Needham family are preparing to go to the high court to force the home secretary to make a decision on the application for financial support. The Home Office has spent more than £7m on the investigation being run by the Metropolitan police into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, officials said on Friday. British officers were in Portugal this week supporting their Portuguese counterparts as they interrogated 11 individuals – seven Portuguese and four Britons – as part of the investigation. The money being sought by South Yorkshire police is understood to be a sum in thousands not millions…”
→Daily Mail, (21 May 2015) Soldier witness could be key to finding out about Ben Needham's abduction as his mum says 'the case is finally being taken seriously for first time in 24 years': “…Now Mrs Needham says thanks to the programme, police are chasing seven 'interesting' leads, leaving her feeling like the case is 'finally being taken seriously' by police for the first time in 24 years….”