Mystery over married dad-of-four who went missing after going to England to meet online female pal
A married father-of-four has vanished without trace after travelling to England to meet a woman he befriended online.
Mervyn Craig (46) had told his family he was going to Manchester to work on a building site, but his true intentions were discovered by his distraught daughter after she accessed his Facebook account.
Mr Craig, who is diabetic and insulin-dependent, has now been officially missing for 11 days and his family are beside themselves with worry.
Greater Manchester Police have also expressed concern about the safety of the grandfather-of-three from Lisburn, who requires daily self-medication by means of an injection from a weekly prescription.
His distressed daughter Samantha (29) said she had not spoken to her dad since he left Northern Ireland and went to Wigan over three weeks ago.
"Daddy told us he was going over to Manchester because he had a job lined up," she explained.
"After he flew out on January 28 we were unable to contact him, so I checked his Facebook account because we were so worried about him.
"That's when I discovered he had met somebody else and, basically, the two of them were going to live happily ever after. It was a huge shock."
Samantha said her devastated mother Donna (50), who is too unwell to work, was involved in a car accident the day before her father left.
"Mum's badly bruised and still recovering from the crash - and now she has to deal with all this," the mother-of-three said.
"She's bearing up as well as can be expected, but it's very hard to come to terms with everything."
Samantha, a sales assistant, said that she confronted her father's Facebook friend, who is in her mid-30s and lives in Wigan, on the social media site and was told that they had parted company on February 8.
Police have confirmed that Mr Craig was last seen at the Arnold Clark Motorstore on Wallgate, Wigan, later that Monday at around 8pm.
"Daddy doesn't drive and he has never had a licence, so I have no idea what he was doing there - that's a mystery as well," Samantha said.
She added that her siblings - Dwayne (24), 21-year-old Chloe and Ryan (20) - are becoming increasingly desperate for news about their father.
And she told how her children - seven-year-old Madison, Bethany (3) and Ethan, who is 15 months - just want their granddad to come home.
"Daddy didn't take any medication with him when he left," his eldest daughter said.
"All he took was his card for the building site, electoral ID, work clothes and work boots.
"He just had one bag with him, that was it."
Samantha, who lives in Lisburn, said Mr Craig took a flight from Belfast International Airport to Manchester and told his family that he would be back home in a month.
"He had a mobile with him when he left but we can't track him down on that either," she added.
"We're all really worried about him and we want him to get in touch and let us know that he's okay."
Mr Craig, who is normally shaven-headed, is described as "burly" and at least 6ft 4ins tall. He was last seen wearing a light grey 'Tapout' T-shirt with dark jeans.
His daughter said that if the manual labourer failed to take his injections he would become disorientated and confused and would begin to mumble.
Detective Inspector Martin Reddington issued a fresh appeal for information on the missing man and said that Greater Manchester Police had now utilised "significant resources" - including officers on the ground and the underwater search team - to find Mr Craig.
"Mervyn has now been missing for a week and we are growing more and more concerned for his welfare with each passing day," DI Reddington added.
"We are working closely with local businesses and keeping in close contact with Mervyn Craig's family in the hope of locating him.
"But the public can play their part in finding this man safe and well, too.
"If you see Mervyn, please contact police as his family are extremely worried about him."