Ben Needham’s mum has been left “shaking every day” as five people have come forward to say they have seen her son alive since he went missing.
The 21-month-old toddler, who was born in Sheffield, vanished from the Greek island of Kos on July 24, 1991, and since then his whereabouts has remained unknown.
His mother, Kerry Needham, has been struggling to cope with the 30th anniversary of her son’s disappearance, which was earlier this month, The Mirror reported.
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Now, the publication reports that five new British witnesses, who are convinced they also saw Ben Needham on the Greek island of Corfu after he went missing, have come forward.
Kerry Needham has been left “shaking every day” after learning that the police in Greece are investigating a new lead on Corfu island.
The Corfu island is 600 miles away from where her son vanished over 30 years ago.
They are investigating claims from three Greek witnesses, who say a campsite worker in Corfu found a blond toddler abandoned by gypsies and may have raised Ben as her own.
After the story appeared in the publication, two couples, one woman who works for major crimes in a UK police force, spoke to the Daily Mirror, convinced they saw Ben just 25 minutes away from this campsite months later in 1992.
A 79 year old woman also contacted the Daily Mirror, to say she too spotted a blond boy she is convinced was Ben, in the next resort down – 20km away from the couples.
Police worker Sally and her husband Richard, from the UK, have asked us not to use their surnames, said they had gone on holiday to Agios Georgios in the summer of 1992.
Sally said she saw a Greek lady, in her 50s or 60s, pushing a blond toddler in an old fashioned pushchair.
Ben Needham disappeared on Kos in 1991
“I remember saying to my husband ‘That looks like that little Ben Needham’. It was bizarre and I remember being taken aback because this child did not go with that lady,” she said.
“He was of an age he would be able to walk, about two or three. This woman pushed him into a building and I think I followed them. “
She was so worried she called the police on her return to the UK but heard nothing.
“I even reported it a second time because it just won’t go away. It never felt right to me,” she said.
“When I read about the new information I thought ‘bloody hell that was not far away.’
“I then asked my husband if he remembered anything happening on that holiday and he said ‘yes we saw that lady with that baby”.
“I’ve worked on in 36 murders and this image is ingrained in my brain I remember it vividly. It has never gone away.”
Jan Crawley, 69, from Stevenage had also gone on holiday to Agios Georgios a few months later with her husband Mal, now 72.
She recalled it was September 1992 and told The Mirror: “We had walked to an area of the beach where it was much quieter.
“This Greek couple drove up and parked their car and then came on the beach with this blond child,” she said.
“But when they heard us speaking English they bundled the towels away and picked up the boy and ran up to the car again.
“They were there no more than ten minutes.
“It was so strange. I always felt this was Ben and I should have done something. It looked so much like him.
“We love children and we were waving to him and trying to attract his attention a little bit and I think it unnerved them.”
She reported the sighting to the British police in 2015 after seeing a media appeal but added: “I’m so sorry I left it so late.”
Diane, a 77-year-old retired human resource manager from North Wales, who does not wish us to publish her surname, said she is convinced she also saw Ben in June or July 1992.
It was during a two week holiday at Akotiri Beach Hotel in Paleo Kastritsa.
Half an hour from the campsite and the next resort to where the couples stayed.
“The child I saw was with a Greek family eating in our hotel.
Jan and Mal Crawley were in Corfu when Ben went missing
(Image: TIM ANDERSON)
“They had put him in a highchair and they had put small curls in his hair.
Maybe that was a disguise, who knows.
“We were all fascinated by this little boy who was completely blond and white. It really has stayed with me ever since. I didn’t know at that time about Ben so I just went home.
“But after finding out about Ben’s case. It’s been bothering me ever since.
“ I am now convinced it was Ben. If they don’t take it seriously now I will be very disappointed. Something is happening there with all these people responding now.
“It’s taken me a lot to get in contact but I feel like a weight has been lifted.”
The Mirror this week travelled to Corfu to meet the Greek witnesses who claim Ben may have been taken in by a local resident after being found abandoned.
Panos, who has asked us to use his first name only, said the campsite where they saw the blond boy was in the north of Corfu and called Roda Camping.
He said Ben could have been brought to the area because it is easy to escape Greece without a passport.
Panos said: “If you want to leave Greece without a passport, from this part of Corfu you can go to Albania or Italy. You can even get to Albania on a pedalo, it is just 2km away.”
Panos told how he was about 13 years old, visiting family when he believed he saw Ben who was taken to the campsite by a worker who’d found him abandoned on the beach.
“He was wearing a white t-shirt and looking very very dirty”. He was saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in English when he was asked if he was thirsty and hungry.
This child looked just like Ben.”
Panos said some time later he met the campsite worker again and asked what had happened to the boy.
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“She told me it was confidential and I was the only one she told. She told me she had not taken him to the police but kept the boy.”
His cousin, a mum who also did not wish to be named, said: “I believe it was 1991 and I was about nine years old. The campsite worker had him in her arms.
“He was very scared and very nervous. He was asked if he was thirsty and was given coca cola. I remember that because we were not allowed coca cola.”
She said a couple of years later she returned to the campsite, which her relatives ran and overheard the adults chatting.
“They were talking about this boy who the woman had kept. He had grown up in a nearby village and was speaking the Greek language now. ”
Both Panos and his cousin said they have tried several times to talk to the police about the incident but feel they were not taken seriously at the time because they were so young.
South Yorkshire Police have said they believe Ben died in a horror digger accident and have carried out two digs near the farmhouse where he was last seen.
But his mum says there is “not a thread of evidence” to back this up.
Kerry, 49, from Sheffield, is now appealing to the people of Corfu to share a recent age progression picture of her son aged 31.
She said: “Somebody on the island might recognise him and end my agony.
“It’s the most life like photo we’ve ever had and it just takes one person to recognise him and end my hell. These sightings in Corfu have really shaken me.
“It’s 30 years now and it’s heartbreaking and traumatic every day. Please somebody help me.”
The Hellenic Ministry of Citizen Protection said they “have received information from the British authorities which we are currently investigating.
“We will send the results back to our colleagues in Britain when the investigations are completed.”
South Yorkshire Police said: “We continue to hold the view that Ben died as a result of a tragic accident on the day of his disappearance, however should any new viable line of inquiry come to light, we would seek to work with the Greek authorities to support them in their investigations.”
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