MISSING Ben Needham, snatched on the Greek holiday island of Kos 20-years-ago this week, may have ended up with a childless gypsy woman, says a doctor who believes he spoke to the toddler.
The now retired gynaecologist says a boy matching his description spoke English and told him: “My name is Ben.”
SEE THE STAR TOMORROW FOR FULL REACTION AND MORE FROM BEN’S MUM KERRY.
He came into contact with the little boy again a few months later, when the child ran towards him but was pulled back by the woman he was with - a former patient of his who could not have children.
The doctor reported it to the police at the time but he says they took no action because no crime had been committed.
Now they are taking an interest after he came forward again when Ben’s story was told on the hugely popular Greek TV show called The Light At The End Of The Tunnel - which reunites missing people.
Presenter Angelica Nikolouli dedicated half of the three hour show to Ben’s disappearance. It featured the Greek version of the Help Find Ben Needham Facebook site and pictures of how he might look now.
His disappearance also made national news headlines the next day, after the campaign was highlighted this week by Calendar TV.
The doctor described coming into contact with a boy who he now believes was Ben.
He said: “It was about February or March 1992. I was surprised to see this tourist family boy looking at me and I said hello... he said to me, ‘my name is Ben’.
“He was about two and a half years old. I didn’t know the missing boy was called Ben at the time. I said to him, so your name is Ben. He looked at me but didn’t say anything more. He probably didn’t know what to say.
A few months later he saw the boy again and he was intrigued because it was so unusual to see a blond English speaking child in a town where it is rare to see anyone that isn’t Greek He added: “I was surprised because the child was not a gypsy child. I was in the yard of the hospital and saw the little boy running towards me. But he didn’t reach me because the young gypsy woman grabbed him, spanked him and dragged him away.
“I told the police but the looked at me. They were not interested and didn’t think it was anything significant.
The police were criticised by the Needham family in the early days of the search but they have alwasy insisted the investigation will continue.
A spokesman said: “He is still a missing child and until we have evidence of his whereabouts we will continue to look for him. His disappearance shocked Greek society and the feeling hasn’t changed since then.”