Mum's torment over missing Luke

IT is now more than two weeks since 19-year-old Suffolk teenager Luke Durbin went missing after a night out with friends in Ipswich. As each day passes without news, Luke's mother Nicki and his 16-year-old sister Alicia are becomingly increasingly concerned for his safety and his mother hopes that by talking about him and the night he disappeared someone might come forward with new information that will help the police.

IT is now more than two weeks since 19-year-old Suffolk teenager Luke Durbin went missing after a night out with friends in Ipswich.

As each day passes without news, Luke's mother Nicki and his 16-year-old sister Alicia are becomingly increasingly concerned for his safety and his mother hopes that by talking about him and the night he disappeared someone might come forward with new information that will help the police.

Speaking at her home in Hollesley, near Woodbridge, Mrs Durbin exclusively told EADT reporter Jane Hunt how she has coped during the last two weeks.

“We have all seen appeals on television when parents ask the public for information about their missing children.


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“You have huge compassion for those parents but none of us dares to think what it must really be like because it is too awful to imagine.

“But now it's here, it's my child and I just want to know that he is alright.”

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Sitting in the kitchen of her Hollesley home Nicki Durbin composes herself as she tries to put into words the sheer torment she has been through since her 19-year-old son Luke vanished without trace 18 days ago.

“What has happened is every parent's worst nightmare. Sometimes I am numb but able to function and then I have days when I can't keep it together.

“The first week I couldn't sleep at all but now I am so shattered that I do get some sleep ­­- but then I wake up and the fact that Luke is missing hits me again.

“We are a very close family and Alicia, who will be 17 on Thursday, is devastated. We just cannot understand what has happened to him.

“He cannot simply have disappeared. Even when things weren't going well for him in the past he would always stay in contact with us. It is totally out of character for him not to let us know where he is.

“The last two weeks have been a complete nightmare.”

On Thursday May 11, the day Luke disappeared, Mrs Durbin's clearly remembers him coming home from work and getting ready to go out.

“He was so excited about going out that night. One of his friends was coming back from London for a few days and we heard him chatting on the phone. Alicia and I commented on how lovely it was to hear him laughing.

“Luke had some bad periods in the past but since the beginning of the year he had decided to turn everything around.

“He had got a new job at the Aldeburgh Market in the High Street which he absolutely loved and had got a new motor-bike. He knew how proud his whole family were of the way he had changed things.”

Mrs Durbin was in the bath when Luke called out to say goodbye and he then travelled to Woodbridge where he left motor-bike at a friend's house.

After a few drinks in Woodbridge the friends had taken a taxi to Ipswich and then gone to Zest nightclub.

During the evening Luke's friend went to get some more drinks and when he returned he couldn't find him.

“He spent about 20 minutes looking for him but then decided Luke must have gone home,” said Mrs Durbin.

“It was very strange because nothing had happened during the evening - there hadn't been an argument or anything like that.”

Luke had planned to spend the night at his friend's house in Woodbridge and it wasn't until Saturday that Mrs Durbin realised that something was wrong.

“I rang his mobile on Friday and couldn't get any answer. I just thought his battery was flat. It was only on Saturday, when one of the friends rang to see if he was at home that I started to feel uneasy.

“I rang his work expecting him to be there and when they said he wasn't I really started to worry as he had been so reliable. I started phoning round his friends and nobody had heard from him. I rang Ipswich Hospital to see if he had been brought in and Saturday tea-time I contacted the police.”

It was soon discovered that as well as leaving his motor-bike at his friend's house, Luke had also left his mobile phone there.

“He was very good at losing things when he was drunk, so if he knew he was going to have a few drinks that night he would have decided not to take his phone with him,” said Mrs Durbin.

CCTV footage showed that after leaving Zest Luke had made his way to the Hawk taxi rank in Old Foundry Road, Ipswich where he tried to get a taxi at about 3.40am.

He was last seen walking in the direction of Major's Corner and was also seen earlier at Ipswich station, possibly trying to get a train to Woodbridge. Police would like to hear from anyone who saw or spoke to Luke at any time during the evening.

Since his disappearance police dog handlers have searched a stretch of the A12 and the police helicopter has also scoured the area.

During the first week of Luke's disappearance 37-year-old Mrs Durbin was scared to leave her home in Coronation Avenue, Hollesley in case he tried to contact her but since then she and her friends have been distributed hundreds of posters in Ipswich and Woodbridge in the hope of jogging someone's memory.

“Everyone has been very kind. When we have been out putting up posters people have come up to us and wished us luck and I had a card the other day from a lady who said I was in her thoughts and that she was praying for Luke's safe return. She signed it from 'a mother and grandmother',”

Details of Luke's disappearance are featured at www.FINDLUKE.com and one of his friends has texted Luke's picture to everyone she knows and asked them to forward it on to everyone in their address books.

Mrs Durbin is at a complete loss to understand what has happened to her son. She said that last year when he was going through a bad time he had decided to go to France and had left her a letter telling her what he was going to do.

She added: “He was gone for three days and he phoned home every day before coming back!”

She said that Luke, who attended Melton and Bawdsey Primary Schools before going to Farlingaye High School where he got 10 GCSE's, has a great personality and can talk to anyone.

“He is very deep and sensitive and I know that he wouldn't want to hurt me. Whatever was going on in his life he knew he could talk to me. If he reads this and can't come home I just need him to let me know he is all right.”

If anyone has any information about Luke they can contact Woodbridge police station on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555 111.

Alternatively the National Missing Persons Helpline can be contacted in confidence on 0500 700 700. Luke is white, 5ft 10 inches tall, of slim build and has blue eyes.

He was wearing blue jeans, a black shirt, brown suede shoes and possibly a blue/grey sweatshirt on the night he disappeared.

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