THE Sheffield mother of missing Ben Needham is preparing to make a fresh appeal for information as the 20th anniversary approaches of his disappearance on the Greek island of Kos.
Kerry Needham, who lives in Ecclesfield, continues to believe that her son was abducted at the age of 21 months to sell to a childless family – a theory supported by this week’s comments by a Greek doctor that he recalled a boy fitting Ben’s description visiting his hospital months after he vanished.
The doctor said the blue-eyed, blond-haired youngster was accompanied by a woman from the travelling community. The boy told him in an English accent: “My name is Ben.”
The woman was one of the doctor’s patients and he knew she couldn’t have children.
South Yorkshire Police are conducting a review of the information gathered about Ben’s disappearance over 20 years, to support any action by the Greek authorities.
Kerry said the anniversary, on July 24, will be “really hard”, but it will be an opportunity to get Ben’s case back in the public eye again and to make a fresh appeal.
She said: “It should never have come to this but to us it’s just another day we’re without Ben. I don’t think it’s going to be any more painful than any of the other days we’ve lived without Ben – 20 years is a long time.
Ben went missing minutes after going out to play at a farmhouse his grandfather was renovating in the village of Iraklise. Kerry was a waitress on Kos.
The retired doctor said he saw the boy in a hospital in Larissa in northern Greece. Police didn’t act on it because they believed he hadn’t witnessed a crime.
Kerry said: “I’m extremely disappointed, because if that was Ben then the 20 years I’ve endured without my child have been for nothing. I think they should have taken it very seriously. I’m not going to do anything about the sighting personally, because there’s not really a lot for us to go on.
“The information was originally reported in 1992, so these people have now got to be traced again. Nobody has any idea where these people are now.
“The doctor’s reported it to the police in Athens. There’s been no indication that there will be a full new investigation. My gut feeling is he was abducted to sell to a childless family. That’s the only thing that makes sense. If the doctor’s sighting was of Ben, that theory is correct.”