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Someone else is involved in Corrie McKeague’s disappearance from centre of Bury St Edmunds, says former top detective

PUBLISHED: 12:50 28 October 2016

Nicola Urquhart, mother of Corrie McKeague, is appealing to the public for any information  to help search for her missing son.

Nicola Urquhart, mother of Corrie McKeague, is appealing to the public for any information to help search for her missing son.

Sarah Lucy brown

As police desperately try to solve the mystery of how Corrie McKeague vanished from the centre of Bury St Edmunds five weeks ago, both his family and a former police detective believe someone else must be involved.

Corrie McKeagueCorrie McKeague

With around 60 council-operated CCTV cameras covering the town, and dozens of private cameras, the idea that the 23-year-old RAF Honington serviceman somehow evaded them all on his way out of the town has become an increasingly unlikely answer for his mother Nicola Urquhart.

In an interview this week she stated someone else must have taken Corrie, willingly or unwillingly, out of the town in a car or vehicle.

This is a theory supported by former Metropolitan Police detective chief inspector Colin Sutton, who believes there is no evidence Corrie has run away on purpose.

Mr Sutton, who now lives in mid Suffolk, said: “Given the CCTV coverage that there is in the town, it is quite difficult to see how he could have walked out without being seen on at least one of them.

Suffolk Constabulary CCTV footage of Corrie McKeague Suffolk Constabulary CCTV footage of Corrie McKeague

“There is a chance it did happen by accident, with each camera swinging away at the right time, and I am sure a statistician could do the sums and work out that chance, but it is incredibly unlikely.

“It would take real planning and an in-depth knowledge of every camera’s location, even then it would be hard.”

Mr Sutton said the lack of any evidence that Corrie attempted to plan his disappearance, with no money withdrawn and no other signs, means the police investigation is likely focussing on finding any “reoccurrence” of Corrie to find out if he is still alive.

“I have worked ‘no body’ murder cases before, and these rely on eliminating every other possible reoccurrence,” he said. “This could be on social media, through banking or medically, if they go to the doctors. The police will be looking for any clue that he has resurfaced.”

Mr Sutton, known as the man responsible for the capture of notorious Milly Dowler murderer Levi Bellfield, said cases like Corrie’s, where a young, healthy and happy person goes missing, are rare.

“Usually it is teens, people much younger than Corrie, and they often resurfaced relatively quickly,” he added.

Corrie, who has been based at RAF Honington for three years as a Senior Aircraftman in the RAF Regiment’s 2 Squadron, was last spotted at 3.24am on September 24 after a night out with friends. He was recorded on CCTV walking along a pedestrianised section of Brentgovel Street, in Bury, before turning right into a loading bay behind several shops.

Despite dozens of cameras covering almost every route out of the town centre, he has not been found anywhere else after this time.

There has been one tentative and unconfirmed sighting of Corrie outside of Bury, near to the sugar beet factory on Hollow Road industrial estate at 4.20am.

Speaking to our reporter earlier this week, Corrie’s mother Mrs Urquhart, from Fife in Scotland, urged anyone who may know anything to come forward.

She said: “If you are afraid of being caught doing something you should not have been doing, you can contact police anonymously through Crimestoppers.”

As a police family liaison officer herself, she added: “From past experience in police enquiries, a lot of people always think ‘somebody else will come forward’.

“And although people have come forward, there are less that have come forward than were actually out that night. There are still so many people who need to come forward. There are still so many people that still do not know about Corrie.”

Despite the amount of council-owned CCTV in Bury, police are keen to stress that there is not 100% coverage. Footage from several privately-owned cameras has been traced, but investigators are still keen to hear from anyone in the town who has cameras installed.

There are no council CCTV cameras along Short Brackland, near to the area Corrie was last seen.

Mrs Urquhart and her family have praised the incredible support from the local community here in Suffolk.

Speaking yesterday, she said: “We have got each other, we have our wider family and we all support each other, but it is getting harder every day.

“The support we have had is what is making it so hard to go home. We were on the train back from London the other day and Darroch said ‘I can’t wait to get home’ and he actually meant Bury.

“Because it feels like home now. You walk around and you see Corrie’s face absolutely everywhere and strangers come up to you just saying Corrie is in their thoughts.

“I don’t know how we would have coped without that support from the community.”

She sang the praises of local business owners, such as Cheryl Hickman at the The Bull Inn at Barton Mills, with 100,000 leaflets printed for free and dozens of volunteers helping to hand them out

Police are still looking to trace Corrie’s black Nokia Lumia 435 phone, kept in a tattered black PVC leather case.

Anyone with any information, or who may have been in the Bury, Barton Mills, or Honington area between 3am and 6am on September 24 should call 01473 782019. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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