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Bring Them Back – International Missing Children’s Day 2023

Bring Them Back – International Missing Children’s Day 2023

On International Missing Children’s Day 2023, Matthew Steeples reminds readers of missing children whose cases aren’t getting the disproportionate resources misallocated to that of the search for Madeleine McCann

Today is International Missing Children’s Day and though I don’t generally have time for days-for-this-and-days-for-that – for God’s sake, there’s even a World Tripe Day, an International Carrot Day and a World Toilet Day – given The Steeple Times’ support of the families of several missing youngsters, we once again highlight their stories.


At a time when Metropolitan Police officers have been sent to ‘observe’ yet another search of a reservoir in Portugal by Portuguese officers at the behest of German authorities that was last scoured in 2008 in the pointless £14 million already wasted Madeleine McCann case, the public ought today be reminded that there are many other cases that could actually be solved that utterly disgracefully get little-to-no assistance.


Having moved from supporting a ‘charity’ in the mid 2000s named Parents & Abducted Children Together (PACT) that I later discovered allocated more of its resources to the pay of its founder, the then Lady Meyer, than to searching for vanished children, I came into contact with others who’ve tirelessly searched for their lost children and brothers and sisters. They did so without seeking fame and fortune; they did so out of genuine care and dedication to discovering truth.


Today, if you have time take a moment to find a way to support those out there who go missing each year. In February this year, iNews reported that “170,000 people are reported missing ever year” and that “there are 353,000 reported missing incidents every year.” Of these, “nearly 215,000 are children.” It’s not just Madeleine McCann who remains ‘missing;’ there are hundreds of thousands of others.


Editor’s Note – Unlike as is the case in many publications, this article was NOT sponsored or supported by a third-party. Follow Matthew Steeples on Twitter at @M_Steeples.


Pictured Top (left to right) – Missing without trace for far too long and leaving families lacking closure; Luke Durbin, Ben Needham and Martin Allen.


Disappeared, not found for 15 years, 8 months and 6 days – This morning on Twitter, South Yorkshire Police reminded the public of the case of Andrew Gosden (born 10th July 1993), a young man who has been missing since 14th September 2007. They stated: “Our thoughts are with his family,” but neglected to mention that the search for this now 30-year-old has not had resources anywhere near the league of the search for that of the likely never to be found Madeleine McCann – a poor child whose parents left her and her siblings unattended in a holiday apartment directly open onto a public highway.
In May 2011, I helped ‘The Telegraph’s’ Tim Walker – then ‘Mandrake’ columnist – in their expose of the activities of the ‘charity’ Parents & Abducted Together. At the time, I commented: “I was surprised to read how much Lady Meyer is being paid by PACT when I gave a considerable amount of my time working for the charity for nothing. I assumed that, as this is a charity, she was also volunteering her time for the good of missing children. Other people who gave time and contributions will feel equally disappointed as we believed that our efforts were for charity. It now seems as if we just worked to pay Lady Meyer’s salary.” The notorious for having her home “Ralph Lauren-clad” and herself being “Chanel-clad” Catherine Meyer arrogantly and astoundingly responded: “We doing a huge amount of work for very little salary. I used to work in the city and earned much more.”
The now late Sir Christopher and Lady (now Baroness) Meyer; a couple who came together when she told him her children had been ‘abducted’ by her ex-husband. Parents & Abducted Children Together (PACT) was a ‘charity’ later founded by Catherine Meyer; it tellingly no longer operates.

Martin Allen (born 19th October 1964)

Martin Allen disappeared in London on 5th November 1979 aged just 15 and though his brother, Kevin Allen, tirelessly campaigns keeps the case in the public eye as much as he can, he disgracefully gets little to no help from the Metropolitan Police.


The son of a chauffeur to the Australian High Commissioner and a resident in a cottage in the grounds of the Australian High Commission in Kensington, London, grammar school educated Allen was last seen heading towards the Piccadilly line platform at King’s Cross station. In spite of various suggestions leading nowhere and the case being closed in the 1980s and a detective telling the Allen family “that there were ‘high-up people involved’ and that they should stop talking and ‘not take it further because someone will get hurt,’” the investigation was reopened in 2009. Evidence deemed lost was ‘rediscovered’ even in 2015 and in 2016, the paedophile gang leader Sidney Cooke was questioned under Operation Malswick.


Martin Allen has now been missing for 43 years, 6 months and 19 days. His parents are both now deceased and sadly still to this day, his remaining family still await to discover the truth.


Luke Durbin (born 4th December 1986)

Luke Durbin from Hollesley, near Woodbridge, Suffolk went missing aged just 19 after a night out with friends in Ipswich. After after being unable to afford to pay for a taxi home at about 4am, this grocery store worker was last seen on CCTV wandering around the town centre in the early hours of the 12th May 2006.

Durbin had left his new motorbike and personal belongings, including his mobile telephone, at his friend’s house and no trace of him has ever been found since. A silver or white Volvo 440 – possibly registration M206 LYE (which was “either registered to a false name and address or on false plates” according to the ‘Missing The Missing’ YouTube channel) – seen also on camera in the close vicinity of Durbin’s last location at the time of his last sighting has never been eliminated from enquiries. Suffolk Police have stated that they “sadly believe Luke was unlawfully killed,” and though a £20,000 reward was offered and multiple arrests made, no progress has been made in solving this disappearance.

In subsequent years, Luke Durbin’s mother, Nicki Durbin, has tirelessly continued her efforts to find her son and taken a job working on the Missing People helpline to help others in similar situations. She also operates a Twitter account and an email address highlighting the case and keeps alive the hope of one day solving what the Ipswich Star terms: “One of Suffolk’s most enduring mysteries.”

Ben Needham (born 29th October 1989)

Since her then twenty-one-month year old son Ben Needham went missing on the Greek Island of Kos on 24th July 1991, Kerry Grist-Needham has tirelessly campaigned to try and find him. Unlike with other cases, little help has been given by the authorities or charities.


Born in Boston, Lincolnshire, Ben Needham was, at the time, staying with his maternal grandparents at their home in the village of Iraklis, near Kos town and though there have been hundreds of sightings of boys matching his description on various Greek islands, he has never been found.


Missing now for 31 years, 9 months and 12 days, searches by South Yorkshire Police occurred in 2012 and 2016, but sadly did not result in the discovery of any substantive evidence.


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