THE father of missing Ben Needham – the Sheffield toddler who vanished on the Greek island of Kos – said he could forgive abductors if they solved the 21-year mystery.
Simon Ward, aged 42, spent three months in Kos with his partner Kerry Needham and their 21-month-old son Ben in 1991 in the hope of building a new life abroad.
He said: “It sounds strange but if Ben was abducted for a childless couple and they have him, I’d feel some sympathy. They obviously wanted a child to love, so I’d understand that.
“I could forgive them if Ben was still alive. If someone out there has an answer and they told me, I’d forgive them all day long.”
Property developer Simon, who returned to Sheffield a few days before Ben vanished, added: “Ben would be 23 if he were still alive, but if he was with another couple he’d believe he was someone else and have lived a third his natural life span as someone else.
“It would be like someone coming to my stepson after 23 years and saying ‘This life is not really yours, you don’t belong here’.”
Simon added: “The theory that Ben was abducted is where me and Kerry differ.
“I ceased to believe he is still out there a long time back. She is still looking for Ben – I’m looking for answers.”
Simon travelled to Kos last year when South Yorkshire Police led a search to rule out a theory Ben may have been accidentally buried next to the farmhouse his grandparents Christine and Eddie Needham were renovating.
The search was organised after it emerged the tot had been playing outside at the same time a local builder was moving earth with a digger in a neighbouring field.
He added: “It was traumatic to go back to the island. I really did think there was going to be a breakthrough.”