Mother of missing RAF gunner fears bones found could be her son's

Mother of missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague who vanished in 2016 fears human bones found in Suffolk river could be her son’s – as she shares new photo of airman and says ‘our lives will never be the same’

  • Suffolk Police launched a murder investigation when bones were found in river
  • Nicola Urquhart says police have been unable to reassure its not her son Corrie
  • Corrie McKeague, 23, vanished after a night out in Bury St Edmunds in 2016 
  • No trace of the RAF serviceman has ever been found by police officers and the investigation into his disappearance was handed to cold case detectives in 2018 

The mother of missing Scottish airman Corrie McKeague has tweeted a new photo of him today and said, ‘in just one second our lives will never be the same.’

Nicola Urquhart, whose son Corrie was last seen on CCTV entering a bin loading area on September 24, 2016, following a night out in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, added: ‘Missing you so much’ as she posted the photo of him wearing a lifejacket.

It comes after Nicola said today it was not yet possible for police to put her ‘mind at rest’ after human bones were found in Suffolk last week.

A murder inquiry was launched after human remains were found in two bin bags in the River Stour in Sudbury last Thursday.

A post-mortem examination carried out by the Home Office on Sunday proved inconclusive – with further forensic tests required to establish any form of identification, or cause of death.

Nicola Urquhart (right) has said she fears bones found in the River Stour could be those of her son RAF gunner Corrie McKeague who vanished after a night out in Bury St Edmunds in 2016

Corrie McKeague was last seen near a bin loading area in Bury St Edmunds in 2016. Police searched a landfill site near Cambridge for his body in March the following year

The bones were discovered in the River Stour and police say a post-mortem examination was not able to establish any form of identification or a cause of death and more tests are needed

The force said further tests are now taking place, adding that this will be a ‘lengthy process’.

Ms Urquhart told the East Anglian Daily Times: ‘Most times when remains or bodies have been found, the police down in Suffolk have been able to put my mind at rest that it’s not Corrie very quickly.

‘After speaking to me, they’ll be able to tell me that they already think they know who the person is or, for whatever reason, they know it’s not Corrie.

‘Unfortunately, on this occasion, they’ve not been able to do that.

‘So I think the hard thing is that, whether this is Corrie or not, this is somebody’s son or daughter – and it’s whether anybody will ever find out because they might not be able to identify who this person is.’

She added: ‘It’s just about trying to keep a sensible head on, and not letting your head start making things up and thinking a million thoughts.

‘It is really difficult just to wait until you get an answer because there’s as much chance of this not being Corrie as it being Corrie but it’s going to be someone’s son or daughter.

‘It’s just awful.’

Corrie was last seen in a part of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, known as the ‘Horseshoe’ at 3.24am on Saturday, September 24, 2016 – around nine miles from his base at RAF Honington.

He has not been seen since and in October 2018 Suffolk Police said they believed his body was at a landfill site in Cambridgeshire.

Officers said they believed Corrie, who was 23 when he disappeared, climbed into a Biffa bin and fell asleep and was taken to the rubbish tip in Milton.

They reached the conclusion after a meeting with Biffa Head Office, which confirmed the weight of the bin, which was picked up from outside Greggs in the area where Corrie was last seen, weighed 116kg – much higher than bin collection weights from the same place normally.

Suffolk Constabulary are appealing to the public for information after bones were discovered

CCTV of missing RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague in Brentgovel Street in Bury St Edmunds

Suffolk and Norfolk police spent 137 days looking for Corrie at the Milton tip and trawled through more than 7,000 tonnes of rubbish as part of a £2 million investigation into his disappearance.

Officers carried out two separate search operations in 2017 with the first being called off in July and the second resuming in October and lasting approximately six weeks. 

In March 2018 announced they announced his disappearance had been moved to the major investigation cold case team.

Last year, on the third anniversary of his disappearance, mum Nicola said she accepted her son was dead – but said she hadn’t given up hope of finding his remains.

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