Family's plea to find missing man

A DESPERATE family yesterday made an emotional appeal for the public's help in finding a devoted husband and grandfather who has been missing since Monday.

A DESPERATE family yesterday made an emotional appeal for the public's help in finding a devoted husband and grandfather who has been missing since Monday.

Keith Wright, 71, a retired carpenter from Braintree, was last seen by his wife of 42 years, Pearl, when he dropped her off for an appointment that morning.

Although spotted by a neighbour returning home alone to Clairmont Close at about 9am, he has since vanished and police have grown increasingly concerned for his safety.

His car has been left in the drive and he is without his mobile phone, bus-pass or even any cash.

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His wife and daughters insist his disappearance is totally out of character for the quiet family man.

The mystery has prompted a massive police search which began on Monday evening involving dog-handlers, the Lowland Search and Rescue Team and helicopter crews.

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Officers continued to comb the area nearby yesterday and both family and officers now believe time to be of the essence.

Daughter Audrey Bailey, 39, described the tight-knit family's ordeal. She said: “It is a living hell.

“He has never done anything like this before. He's not the kind of person who goes off unexpectedly.

“He lives for his family and his cats. I was in utter shock and disbelief when I heard he was missing.

“Totally out of character, it was something so wrong. It's not him. We've been waiting for the phone to ring and searching miles and miles.

“He doesn't smoke and doesn't drink. His hobbies are around the house, gardening DIY and his pets.”

Born and bred in Braintree, Mr Wright who had retired from his Braintree District Council job six years ago, was looking forward to a week with two of his four grandchildren in Folkestone, Kent.

But on Monday, although it is believed he dropped off a prescription at his doctor's surgery in Bocking End some time after 9am, he failed to answer his wife's calls or pick her up.

Mrs Bailey said: “If he was going to pick someone up, that's what he would do.

“He was a man that kept his word - that's how we knew there was something wrong.”

Describing her husband as a quiet, shy man, his 60-year-old wife revealed how a recent bereavement had left him slightly depressed.

A near neighbour, known to the family for 40 years, had died and then another neighbour died soon afterwards.

Since then, he had suffered from panic attacks and had been prescribed sleeping tablets.

But, according to his wife, everything seemed normal on Monday.

Mrs Wright said: “He was a bit low. He'd been down for two months. But there was nothing unusual said that day.

“Our granddaughter was to have a tooth removed and he was going to pick me up. He was so reliable but I had to make my own way back.”

Increasingly frantic she phoned the police at 2.15pm.

Mr Wright was wearing a checked cap, green top, dark trousers and shoes, almost certainly brown.

He may have been wearing a brown cardigan and possibly carrying a blue shopping bag. He has grey thinning hair, is 5ft 10ins tall and of thin build. Quite active and healthy, he looks younger than his 71 years.

Police are concerned that Mr Wright may have taken refuge overnight. Members of the public in Braintree are asked to look into nearby sheds, outbuildings, or any long gardens in the area where he may have stayed.

Anyone who may have seen him of with information is asked to call Braintree Police on 01376 551312 or 999.

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