A year on and the pain for missing Corrie’s family continues

The last confirmed sighting of Corrie McKeague - taken from the 3.25am CCTV footage of him in Brentgovel Street, Bury St Edmunds, on Saturday September 24.
The last confirmed sighting of Corrie McKeague - taken from the 3.25am CCTV footage of him in Brentgovel Street, Bury St Edmunds, on Saturday September 24.

It was a year ago this morning that missing airman Corrie McKeague was last seen on CCTV in Bury St Edmunds.

The image of the RAF Regiment airman, then 23, walking across the horseshoe area of Brentgovel Street has now been seen across the country. But few then dreamed that a year on his family would still be awaiting closure.

Corrie McKeague

Corrie McKeague

His father Martin McKeague is returning again to Bury this weekend, from his home in Scotland.

He said: “I’ll be there because there will be people who might know something, might have seen something and not realise it.”

He believes there may be people who were out in the town a year ago celebrating birthdays or anniversaries and may return.

He welcomed the fact that the police will have a ‘pod’, on the corner of Risbygate Street and St Andrew’s Street, near where Corrie was last seen, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning when officers will talk to people to see if any new lines of inquiry can be found. On Thursday afternoon, they issued more CCTV pictures of people they want to talk to.

Corrie's father Martin and grandparents Mary and Oliver McKeague

Corrie's father Martin and grandparents Mary and Oliver McKeague

Returning is not easy for him. Thinking back to when he was told his son was missing, he said: “I didn’t think for a minute it would be a year down the line and nothing would be found. It’s just as difficult now as it was then – a bit of closure would be good.”

Mr McKeague said he was waiting for the independent review of the investigation so that things should start moving again.

He stressed: “I’ve still got trust in Suffolk and Norfolk Police and the Met [Police] in all they’ve done.”

He hopes that as the evidence suggests Corrie ended up in the Milton landfill site, that will be the first thing reviewed.

Corrie McKeague's mum Nicola Urquhart outside the police pod during Bury's  Christmas Fayre

Corrie McKeague's mum Nicola Urquhart outside the police pod during Bury's Christmas Fayre

He added: “I fully expect the police to go back to the landfill because the evidence they have says that’s where he is.”

Mr McKeague lived in a camper van near the landfill site during the 20 week search, so he could follow its progress.

Corrie’s mother, Nicola Urquhart, also planned to be in Bury over the weekend.

She told Facebook followers she, Corrie’s brothers Makeyan and Darroch and his uncle Tony Wringe will be in Langton Place, where Corrie started his night out, throughout the day and evening and will walk his last route.

Police search team searching rubbish at Milton landfill site

Police search team searching rubbish at Milton landfill site

Nicola added: “This is being done in the hope that we may jog someone’s memory.

“Now is not the time to give up and sit quietly somewhere to remember Corrie. Information is what will find Corrie, we desperately need you for this.”

On Thursday, Group Captain David Tait, RAF Honington Station Commander, said: “Our thoughts remain with Corrie’s family and his colleagues on No II Squadron RAF Regiment and even more as the anniversary of his disappearance approaches. We continue to thank the civilian police and the local community for their fantastic support.”

Detective Superintendent Katie Elliott, who has led the investigation, said the East Midlands Special Operations Unit was still conducting a review of the police investigation.

Det Supt Elliott added: “Our thoughts are with Corrie’s family and (for them) to have lived with that uncertainty for all this time is incredibly difficult.

“We continue to do all we can to find out what happened to Corrie and to find him.”

Corrie's girlfriend April Oliver with their daughter

Corrie's girlfriend April Oliver with their daughter

+Any information on Corrie’s disappearance should go to the incident room on 01473 782019.

What happened to Corrie?

Corrie McKeague, 23, from Dunfermline, Fife, had served with 2 Sqn RAF Regiment at Honington for three years.

Friday, September 23: Corrie drives to Bury St Edmunds for a night out with friends from the base. He phones his brother Darroch McKeague – it was the last contact the family had with him.

Saturday, September 24: After going to the Flex nightclub he separates from his friends, which the family says was usual for him, and buys a takeaway at Pizza Mamma Mia on St Andrews Street North, where he seemed happy.

1.20am: He passed a CCTV camera opposite The Grapes Pub on the corner of Brentgovel Street and St Andrews Street and slept for about two hours in the Hughes Electrical Store doorway.

3.24am: Corrie got up from the doorway and went into a loading ‘horseshoe’ area in Brentgovel Street behind Greggs’ shop. That was the last confirmed sighting of Corrie and the police say he could not have left that area without passing a CCTV camera.

3.24am to around 4.30am: Corrie’s mobile phone goes from Bury to the Barton Mills area at vehicle speed and was not used again. A bin lorry that went that way at that time was later seized and forensically searched.

Monday, September 26: RAF Honington reported Corrie missing in the afternoon after he failed to turn up for duty.

Tuesday, September 27: At 4.10am, police make their first media appeal for information.

Monday, October 3: Police reveal his phone ‘pinged’ the Barton Mills mast on September 24.

Friday, October 28: Police release CCTV images of the last known sighting of Corrie in the Brentgovel Street horseshoe.

Thursday, November 24: Two months since the last sighting and visitors to Bury’s Christmas Fayre queue at a ‘police pod’ to view CCTV images of people who were in the town centre the night he went missing.

Tuesday, December 6: Corrie’s grandparents Mary and Oliver McKeague, from Cupar in Fife, offer a ‘five-figure’ reward for information.

Wednesday, December 7: Nicola also announces a £50,000 reward for information, donated by a Suffolk couple.

Thursday, December 8: A crowdfunding site set up to raise money for ‘private investigators’ hits its original £20,000 target in 24 hours so the target is raised to £30,000.

Saturday, December 17: Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue, whose volunteers have been searching for Corrie alongside the police from the beginning, organise the first search on behalf of the family with specially selected public volunteers.

Sunday, January 1: Crowdfunding appeal reaches £52,000.

Saturday, January 7: Corrie’s uncle Tony Wringe says the family have brought in data and intelligence collating experts McKenzie Intelligence Services to help with the search, funded by the crowdfunding money.

Monday, January 9: Corrie’s girlfriend April Oliver reveals in a BBC interview that she found out she was pregnant about two weeks after he went missing.

Friday, February 10: Police say they will search the equivalent of three Olympic swimming pools of rubbish at a Milton, Cambridgeshire, landfill site.

Saturday, February 18: The £50,000 reward donated by a Suffolk couple is withdrawn 21 weeks after Corrie went missing.

Monday, March 6: The search begins on the landfill tip at Milton near Cambridge.

Sunday, June 18: Corrie’s girlfriend April Oliver posts pictures on Facebook of her new baby. The child is later named Ellie-Louise Oliver.

Friday, July 21: Police say they are stopping the landfill search after 20 weeks, though the investigation still points to Corrie’s remains being there.

Saturday, August 5: Businessman Colin Davey, from Coney Weston, reinstates the £50,000 reward.

+Any information on Corrie’s disappearance should go to the incident room on 01473 782019.