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The Case Of Missing UK Toddler Ben Needham Has Been Solved

It's been 25 years since he went missing

He was just 21 months old when he vanished – and in the UK his face is as familiar as that of William Tyrell in Australia. 

And now, after 25 years, police believe they have solved the case of missing boy Ben Needham.

Ben was a blonde, blue-eyed cherubic toddler when he went missing from Greece on July 24, 1991. His British-born mother, Kerry, had left him with her mother while she went to work. At about 2.30 in the afternoon, Ben’s grandparents realised he was missing. 

In the quarter of a century that has since passed, there have been hundreds of ‘sightings’ of Ben and countless theories as to his fate. Some believed he had been kidnapped; others murdered or trafficked. 

On Monday, police revealed that they believed he died as a result of an accident on the day he disappeared.

“Based on the information that I have now, as a result of an extensive and thorough investigation, it is without doubt that the current line of enquiry is the most probable cause for Ben’s disappearance,” said Detective Inspector Jon Cousins’ in a statement

“My team and I know that machinery, including a large digger, was used to clear an area of land on 24 July 1991, behind the farmhouse that was being renovated by the Needham’s.

“It is my professional belief that Ben Needham died as a result of an accident near to the farmhouse in Iraklis where he was last seen playing.”

Ben’s sister, Leigh-Anna Needham, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that the police had found a toy car that the family and Ben’s grandmother believed belonged to Ben.

“She is 90% sure, it is similar but we cannot be 100% sure,” she said.

Ben’s mother, Kerry, told The Daily Mirror that “one man has taken a secret to his grave.”

The BBC reports that a friend of a local digger driver, Konstantinos Barkas, who was clearing land with an excavator on the day the toddler went missing, may have been responsible for Ben’s death. 

The witness says the child wandered on to the work site around midday, and Barkas had not seen him amongst the swirling dust and crushed him unde the wheels of the digger.

The witness’ story led police to begin digging at the site last month where they found the toy car.

Barkas died of cancer in 2015 but his widow and son have strongly denied the claims. 

“It’s been 25 years and they have found nothing at all – not a shred of evidence to support these wild allegations against my father,” Valantis Barkas told the Daily Mail.

“My father has been accused of being a child killer and his picture has been published everywhere without a trace of evidence.

“I have remained calm throughout all of this. We have nothing to hide. We have tried to help [the Operation Ben police investigation].

“It is too easy to blame the dead. My father is dead and his name has been dragged through the mud. He was a beautiful man. He was well respected.”

While police believe they have solved the case, they are not yet closing it.

“We remain committed to the investigation and it will not simply close; myself and Detective Superintendent Matt Fenwick will retain ownership of it and if new information comes to light, we will investigate it thoroughly,” added Detective Inspector Jon Cousins in his statement.

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