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Police agree to halt filling in landfill cell after meeting missing Corrie McKeague’s family

PUBLISHED: 21:53 24 July 2017 | UPDATED: 22:19 24 July 2017

The search operation for missing airman Corrie McKeague at the Milton Landfill site in Cambridgeshire. Pictures: GREGG BROWN

The search operation for missing airman Corrie McKeague at the Milton Landfill site in Cambridgeshire. Pictures: GREGG BROWN

Police have halted filling in the landfill cell where they believe the body of missing RAF man Corrie McKeague is located.

Corrie McKeague's father Martin at a press conference announcing a five-figure reward for information regarding his disappearance. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT Corrie McKeague's father Martin at a press conference announcing a five-figure reward for information regarding his disappearance. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

The news comes after the father of missing man Corrie McKeague threatened to blockade the landfill site, near Cambridge.

Suffolk Constabulary ended the Milton Landfill search on Friday after 20 weeks trawling through 6,500 tonnes of waste.

However, to the anger of the RAF Honington gunner’s family, the police stated they still believe Corrie is in the waste site. The cell they were searching was set to be filled in within days.

Today (July 24), after Martin McKeague temporarily blocked the landfill entrance with his campervan, the family had a meeting with the police force.

Nicola Urquhart, mother of Corrie McKeague, is appealing to the public for any information  to help search for her missing son.  L-R Mackeyan McKeague, Nicola Urquhart, Darroch McKeague. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Nicola Urquhart, mother of Corrie McKeague, is appealing to the public for any information to help search for her missing son. L-R Mackeyan McKeague, Nicola Urquhart, Darroch McKeague. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Speaking after this meeting, a spokesman for Suffolk police said they have now agreed with the landfill owners to leave the cell untouched.

He said: “The search for Corrie remains a live and active investigation as we all remain committed to finding him.

“We have exhausted the search as to where Corrie is mostly likely to be at the landfill site at Milton, although we acknowledge and understand the frustration that Corrie’s family, friends and many supporters feel in relation to this.

“We will now take time to pause and reflect where we are with the investigation and will continue to carefully review it as we have done from the outset.

Corrie McKeague in a picture shared by his mother. Picture: CONTRIBUTED Corrie McKeague in a picture shared by his mother. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

“Police have agreed with the company that run the site to leave cell 22 in its current state and will not be using it for the deposition of waste until the review is concluded.”

He also said the force carrying out the review has not been chosen, after accusations that the initial choice, Essex Police, were not independent enough from Suffolk police

He added they are set to search preserved waste that was incinerated to see if this will establish if there are any further clues as to what happened to Corrie.

• ‘Devastated’ Nicola Urquhart will try to stop landfill cell being filled in after police call off 20-week Corrie McKeague search

Following the announcement, Mr McKeague said: “Following those meetings we are happy with the outcome that a review is now planned, and that the landfill site will not be touched until then.

“Had that not happened we would have been returning to the landfill site again tomorrow.

“As always we put our trust in and fully support the Suffolk and Norfolk police.”

The news comes after Corrie’s mother, Nicola Urquhart, spoke of seeking an injunction to stop the landfill being filled in before the case is independently reviewed.

A petition to continue the search – backed by Mrs Urquhart and Corrie’s brothers, Darroch and Makeyan – has reached nearly 25,000 signatures.

The Corrie search

Corrie, 23, went missing on September 24 2016 from the centre of Bury St Edmunds. He was last seen on CCTV at 3.24am entering a refuse and service area off Brentgovel Street.

He is never seen leaving and this, combined with evidence his phone followed the route of a bin lorry that removed waste from the area, led police to search Milton Landfill.

The Scotsman’s disappearance, after three years based in Suffolk with the RAF, has seen unprecedented levels of public interest in a missing person case.

More than 128,000 people have joined the Find Corrie Facebook group run by his mother’s side by the family.

Mrs Urquhart has also accused the police of making mistakes in the past, after pleading with them to search certain areas and initially the landfill site.

However, she said on Sunday: “Suffolk police do desperately want to find Corrie and have done an amazing amount of work to do just that. For which we are so grateful.”

The full police statement on postponing the filling in of the landfill

A spokesman for Suffolk police made the following statement at 9.40pm on Monday, July 24.

He said: “The search for Corrie remains a live and active investigation as we all remain committed to finding him.

“We have exhausted the search as to where Corrie is mostly likely to be at the landfill site at Milton, although we acknowledge and understand the frustration that Corrie’s family, friends and many supporters feel in relation to this.

“We will now take time to pause and reflect where we are with the investigation and will continue to carefully review it as we have done from the outset.

“With this in mind while we no longer have an operational presence at the site at Milton, the police have agreed with the company that run the site to leave cell 22 in its current state and will not be using it for the deposition of waste until the review is concluded.

“As said on Friday, we will now commission an external police force to carry out an independent review of the investigation. The identity of the force that will conduct this is still to be established as we are eager to ensure thatit is a force that satisfies the need for complete transparency and independence.

“We are confident this will be a forensic, detailed and impartial review that will leave no stone unturned. If this review establishes further lines of enquiry we will pursue them.

“We reiterate that although it is not a criminal investigation, our work to locate Corrie remains on-going. This will include work to search preserved waste that was incinerated to see if this will establish if there are any further clues as to what happened to Corrie.

“This incinerated waste will be subject to examination and where necessary forensic analysis in the coming weeks.”

Severe weather is causing problems on the roads and railway lines across the region today as Storm Georgina strikes.

A man has been charged in connection with an attempted post office robbery in north Essex.

A homelessness campaign in Ipswich which aims to reduce begging and help those find long-term solutions to getting off the streets has been given a funding boost.

An Ipswich area environment project has lost cash support from one of its key partners.

A Kesgrave youth club which had to be suspended almost a year ago after a string of anti-social behaviour problems culminated in a fire is set to be relaunched next month.

Two runners have helped to raise a total of £7,500 for charity after their epic marathon between Burwell and Cambridge.

A Suffolk man who threatened a 17-year-old girl and a retired woman with a hammer during two attempted robberies within minutes of each other has been jailed for 63 months.

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