Thursday 17 August 2017

Missing toddler Ben Needham died as a result of an accident - Police

Ben Needham: vanished. Photo: PA
Ben Needham: vanished. Photo: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

Missing toddler Ben Needham is believed to have died as a result of an accident, police have said.

Detectives from the South Yorkshire force formally ended a three-week search of Kos on Sunday afternoon, and at a press conference on the Greek island revealed they had discovered an item thought to have been with the youngster at the time of his disappearance on July 24 1991.

The search operation was prompted by information that a digger driver may have been responsible for the Sheffield boy's death, as he was clearing land with an excavator near where Ben was playing on the day he vanished.

Speaking at the scene, Detective Inspector Jon Cousins said: "My team and I know that machinery, including a large digger, was used to clear an area of land on 24 July 1991, behind the farmhouse that was being renovated by the Needhams. It is my professional belief that Ben Needham died as a result of an accident near to the farmhouse in Iraklis where he was last seen playing.

"The events leading up to and following that incident have been explored by my team of experts to great lengths. The fact that we have not had a direct result during this visit to Kos does not preclude the facts that we know to be true.

"An item found on Saturday, which I have shown personally to some of Ben's family, was found in one of the targeted areas at the second site, very close to a dated item from 1991.

"It is our initial understanding that this item was in Ben's possession around the time he went missing."

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