Corrie McKeague: Dad speaks of 'horrendous' past five years

Corrie McKeague in his RAF uniform

Corrie McKeague vanished in Bury St Edmunds on September 24, 2016 - Credit: Archant

The father of missing airman Corrie McKeague said the disappearance of his son in 2016 has left him "utterly broken". 

It will be five years on Friday since the RAF gunner was last seen in Bury St Edmunds following a night out in the town. 

The serviceman, who was aged 23 at the time of his disappearance, was stationed at RAF Honington - which is located around 11 miles from Bury. 

He was last seen on CCTV entering a bin loading area behind a row of shops in Brentgovel Street, on Saturday, September 24, 2016, after a night out drinking with RAF colleagues.

Despite a multi-million pound investigation, which included two separate searches of a landfill site in Milton, Cambridgeshire, no trace of the airman has ever been found. 

The investigation was passed to cold case detectives in March 2018. 

Dad Martin McKeague said the past five years have been "horrendous" and insisted dealing with the disappearance of his son has got harder in time. 

Corrie's dad Martin McKeague Picture: ARCHANT

Martin McKeague said the past five years had been 'horrendous' - Credit: Archant

"I'm just as devastated as I was when I first found out my son was missing," he told this newspaper.  

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"It's been a horrendous five years. It's not got any easier, as a matter of fact, it's got a whole lot worse. 

"I miss Corrie every day. I think about Corrie every day. I wish I could put my arms around him. 

"I've done what any parent would do in looking for him. I'm utterly broken. 

"I just miss him. His laugh, his sense of humour, everything. It really is just a nightmare."

Corrie McKeague on CCTV outside The Grapes pub in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

The RAF gunner was last seen on CCTV at 3.24am on September 24, 2016 - Credit: Archant

Suffolk police has maintained that the “most likely” scenario was that Corrie got into a bin and was emptied into a Biffa lorry before consequently ending up in the waste process.

The force previously said although it remains "open-minded", there is no evidence to suggest any foul play or third party involvement.

It added that there has been no corroborated sighting of Corrie and there has been no use of his bank card or passport since his disappearance. 

The force also previously said that more than 2,000 hours of CCTV footage had been viewed and Corrie is not seen on any of it.

Investigators deemed it "almost impossible" for Corrie to have left the bin loading area - known as 'the horseshoe' - on foot without being seen.

Missing Corrie McKeague, last seen in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: CORRIE'S FAMILY

A full inquest into the airman's death will take place next year - Credit: Archant

An independent review into Suffolk police's inquiry concluded a “thorough, methodical and detailed investigation” had been carried out in the search for the airman.

A private investigation firm - McKenzie Intelligence Service (MIS) - was hired by Nicola Urquhart, Corrie's mother, but the information which was collected and passed to police brought no new leads. 

An inquest into the RAF serviceman's death was opened in November last year ahead of the full inquest next year.  

At the inquest opening, Chief Superintendent Marina Ericson, from Suffolk police, told Suffolk Coroner’s Court it is believed Corrie died after climbing into an industrial bin which was then emptied into a waste lorry.

A search for Corrie McKeague at the Milton landfill site in Cambridgeshire Picture: GREGG BROWN

A detailed search of a landfill site in Cambridgeshire yielded no trace - Credit: Gregg Brown

At a pre-inquest review hearing in April this year, Nigel Parsley, senior coroner for Suffolk, said the full inquest will not become an investigation into the police's handling of the case. 

Speaking at the review, he said: “I’m very minded this will not become an inquiry into the police investigation.

“There has already been an independent review of the police investigation.

“The inquest is an inappropriate place for a further review.”

But certain theories - which were ruled out by police - would be included in the hearings, Mr Parsley added. 

Mr McKeague added: "Truth, justice and dignity is all I want for my son. I take strength from him for those reasons."

The full inquest is scheduled to take place over three weeks from March 7 to April 1, 2022, at Suffolk Coroner's Court. 

A spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary said: "Our thoughts are with Corrie’s family, as they always are, at what must be a particularly difficult time of the year for them.”

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