Ben Needham: How every parent’s worst nightmare unfolded

Pictured is up to date pictures of Kerry Needham,mum of Ben Needham who disappeared 19 years ago,and this weekend is his 21st Birthday.
Pictured is up to date pictures of Kerry Needham,mum of Ben Needham who disappeared 19 years ago,and this weekend is his 21st Birthday.
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Little did Kerry Needham know when she waved goodbye to her precious son as she left for work on July 24, 1991, it would be the last time she would ever see the beautiful blond-haired toddler alive.

His disappearance baffled detectives for more than two decades and left Kerry facing every parent’s worst 
nightmare.

Pictured is up to date pictures of Kerry Needham,mum of Ben Needham who disappeared 19 years ago,and this weekend is his 21st Birthday.

Pictured is up to date pictures of Kerry Needham,mum of Ben Needham who disappeared 19 years ago,and this weekend is his 21st Birthday.

It was a nightmare she lived with for every second of every day for 25 years – even in her sleep, where she was haunted by the disappearance.

But she never gave up hope he was still out there somewhere and that one day she would be reunited with the toddler who had become a man.

Today that dream, that one belief which has kept Kerry going over the years, is no more.

Instead, Kerry is having to come to terms with the police’s belief her son is dead and the devastating disappointment she will never hold him in her arms again... there will never be the fairytale ending.

Over the years the fight to find her son became too much and Kerry spiralled into depression, even attempting to kill herself in her darkest hours as the sickening, aching agony of not knowing where her son was became too much for her to bear.

But her belief that one day Ben would be found ultimately gave her strength and a reason to get up every morning and Kerry made it her life’s mission to find out the truth, co-ordinating a campaign to raise awareness of her son’s disappearance around the world.

She wrote to the Queen, she sent letters to Prime Ministers and she urged the British and Greek authorities to keep investigating the disappearance when they seemed to have given up.

Kerry spent her savings travelling the world to follow up possible sightings of Ben and to carry out her own inquiries.

The desperate mum’s dogged determination paid off with the Home Office awarding £700,000 last year to fund a new team to try to crack the case – a team which would eventually come to the conclusion Ben died in an accident 25 years ago.

Kerry, who went on to have a daughter Leighanna three years after Ben disappeared, and who is now a grandmother, spent every day thinking about her son.

There was never a day which passed where she did not wonder where her son was and long to be reunited with him.

For years she believed in the theory her son had been taken by gypsies and her and her family followed up lead after lead hoping that one day they would find Ben.

Whether he would have wanted a relationship with his blood family again after two decades elsewhere was something Kerry knew was a possibility – but just to see him alive and to piece together the jigsaw would have been enough initially.

To know that her beautiful Ben was still alive would have eased the knot in her stomach which had grown tighter and tighter year after year as she endured one disappointment after another.

Whether it was possible sightings of her son, which always reached a dead end, the agonising wait for DNA results on men who may have been Ben or police visits to Kos which failed to unearth anything to lead Kerry to her son, she became used to disappointment but never gave up.

The overwhelming strength of a mother’s bond with her child drove Kerry for 25 years.

Refusing to believe that her little boy was dead, with no evidence to back up that possibility until this week, Kerry’s love for Ben and belief that he was alive fuelled her fight to solve the mystery.

She could have done no more.