'Daddy, please come home' - Family's emotional appeal to find missing Ipswich man
PUBLISHED: 16:57 31 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:07 08 January 2019
The wife of a missing Ipswich train driver has spoken of her children's anguish over the Christmas period as they pleaded for Santa to bring their father home.
Andrew Derrett, 51, was reported missing to police three weeks ago after failing to board a train he was due to drive from London to Ipswich.
The freight service was delayed by 80 minutes when Mr Derrett failed to show on the morning of Tuesday, December 11, prompting his wife, Beverley, to contact the police. He has not been seen since.
Speaking about the “unimaginable” weeks since her husband’s disappearance, Mrs Derrett said the Christmas period had been agonising for their four children, aged between nine and 18, and begged him to get in touch – if only to confirm he is safe.
“He went to work early that morning, about three o’clock in the morning, so none of us saw him go,” she said.
“We know he got to work – he took his train from Ipswich to Wembley, then left. We were trying to ring he but we couldn’t get through.
“I contacted the office of another driver to see if they could get a message to him. The message came back to say his train is 80 minutes late. That’s when we realised he was missing – he’d been in the mess room and then he’d gone.
“I didn’t expect it to go on this long. Each day it becomes a bit more unimaginable. Where can he be for this amount of time? How do you just vanish?”
Mrs Derrett, who is headteacher of Tattingstone Primary School, near Ipswich, said there were a couple of days “when it wasn’t unusual for daddy not to be here” before the panic set in for the children.
In a heart-wrenching video shared on social media on Christmas Eve, the couple’s nine-year-old twins begged Santa to bring their father home.
Watched over by their mum and brother, the twins said: “If anyone sees this who knows where our daddy is, please show it to him.
“Daddy, please come home because we all miss you.
“We have added something to our Christmas list. I wish that you will come home.”
The twins end the video by saying together “we miss you daddy,” and blowing a kiss to the camera.
“You can’t look at that without crying,” Mrs Derrett said.
“The children want him to come home desperately. I just want to know that he’s safe.”
When asked why he might have left, or where he might have gone, Mrs Derrett said: “It has come as a complete surprise. He hasn’t taken anything with him.
“He knows people all over the country. He’s quite a keen motorcyclist – he’s got a Harley Davidson and a BMW. He goes to all the motorcycle meet-ups as well.
“He’s incredibly sociable. Anywhere he goes he could make conversation with anyone.”
She added that Mr Derrett is interested in badge collecting and design, and has many friends in that community.
Mr Derrett’s disappearance has also taken a toll on his parents and brother, who are desperate to see him again.
Mrs Derrett said her husband is “very close to his mum”, who recently turned 80.
His absence has also been difficult for his dad, who is in his late 70s and has recently been suffering from poor health.
She added that her brother-in-law had been a “huge support” to both her and the children.
“His parents are both really worried about him,” she said. “We just want to know that he’s safe more than anything.”
Police are asking anyone with information about Mr Derrett’s whereabouts to come forward.
The 51-year-old Freightliner employee, who has worked as a train driver for over 30 years, was reported missing on Tuesday, December 11 at 11.55am.
Mildenhall Police recorded a possible sighting in the Barton Mills area on December 29, but this was unconfirmed.
Mr Derrett is white, approximately 5ft 8in tall and of a heavy build with shoulder length dark hair and stubble.
He has tattoos on both arms including the name Beverley, a dagger and a love heart, and was last seen wearing black jeans, a short, dark-coloured coat and possibly black boots.
Anyone with information should contact Suffolk Constabulary on 101.