Man defends digger driver dad implicated in disappearance of Ben Needham

Ben Needham
Ben Needham
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The son of a digger driver implicated in the disappearance of Sheffield toddler Ben Needham claims there is 'no evidence' he killed the tot.

Detectives spent time on the Greek island of Kos last year excavating land close to where Ben went missing in July 1991 after a tip-off that digger driver Konstantinos Barkas may have accidentally killed and buried the youngster.

Mr Barkas was clearing land from a building plot close to a farmhouse Ben was playing outside on the day he went missing.

A search of the land being cleared and the spot where material was dumped by the digger driver failed to uncover any human remains, but South Yorkshire detectives told Ben's family that they believe he was killed in an accident.

In a television interview aired in Greece, Mr Barkas's son, Valantis Barkas, denied his father was involved in Ben's disappearance.

"We wonder who made this story up. He was very careful while working and never ever caused an accident," he said.

"He was only accused after he died, so he couldn't defend himself. It's so unfair for him and my family.

"There's no proof and no one believes it. My father would never do that, he was an honest man."

Detective Inspector Jon Cousins, in charge of the hunt for Ben, said: “During the course of our enquiries, we have managed to close off a large number of theories about what happened to Ben, many of which have been open for more than 20 years and get to the facts as to what happened that day.

“The investigation allowed myself and the team to thoroughly review, analyse and scrutinise each piece of information we were able to gather, and were given access to.

“Based on those facts and the information I have to date, it is still my professional belief that Ben died as a result of a tragic incident at the farmhouse involving heavy machinery.

“The fact that we did not have a direct result during the most recent visit to Kos, does not preclude the facts that we know to be true.

“Primacy for the investigation lies with the Greek authorities and South Yorkshire Police remain committed to assisting them in any ongoing enquiries they may have.”