The mother of missing airman Corrie McKeague, who vanished after a night out in Bury St Edmunds nearly four weeks ago, says ‘somebody else’ must be involved in his disappearance.
In her first national TV interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Nicola Urquhart urged anyone to come forward who may have seen her 23-year-old son who was last spotted on CCTV in Brentgovel Street at about 3.20am on September 24.
Police say they have yet to find images of him leaving town, though he told at least one person he planned to walk the 10 miles back to RAF Honington, as he often did.
She said of CCTV footage: “Corrie walks just to the back of shops, it’s where deliveries are made, it’s a dead end, it doesn’t go anywhere.
“Corrie is quite clearly on CCTV seen walking in the middle of the road into this loading bay where vehicles and bins and stuff are.
“He never gets seen coming back out, there’s not one image of Corrie on CCTV in the entire area of Bury that’s been captured. It would take an expert months of preparation to be able to evade that and Corrie wasn’t trying to.
“He has just vanished and as a police officer I know that doesn’t happen but the police have been fantastic. They’ve shown me everything they’ve been doing.
“Somebody else must be involved because he’s not seen leaving on foot at all.”
Asked if there was any reason to think Corrie would want to get away, Nicola, from Dunfermline, said: “I know that would be an easy answer and I wish it was because then at least I would think it was something Corrie has chosen to do.
“There was nothing going on in his life, there was no major event, there was nothing that might cause him to suddenly think at 3am after he’s had a drink, a week before payday, when he’s left his little seven-month-old puppy in his room, he’s been sending photographs to friends.
“He’s been in a fantastic mood. He spoke to his brother Darroch four times on the phone that night making plans for Darroch to come up last weekend.”
She said she believed her son was still alive and there are three possibilities of what has happened to him including that there has been a ‘dreadful accident’.
“This is one of the things I am clinging to. Corrie would go with a stranger in a car, he would ask a stranger for a lift, he would equally pick up hitchhikers so perhaps somebody has given him a lift to try to get him back to the base but they’ve taken him to the wrong place and they’ve dropped him off and they feel bad and they don’t want to come forward.
“But the police don’t know where to search because they’ve searched the road back to the base and he’s not there.
“If there’s been an accident, if someone has taken him to try to give him a lift up the road tell us where you dropped him off so we’ve got some clue as to where to start searching now.”
She said he could have left voluntarily but there was ‘no preparation whatsoever, no motivating factor to make him go, his life is really going well for him’.
The alternative was that ‘he has been taken against his will’.
“I don’t want that to sound like I think it’s got anything to do with terrorism. I’m aware of the Marham incident – it was only 20 miles away, he’s in the armed services and the police are not discounting it either. However, there is only one bit of evidence that says it’s not terrorism and that’s because nobody has come forward and claimed him and they would have by now. For that very reason, although we wouldn’t discount it, it’s not an active thing they’re trying to look into.”
To those who have any information and feel they can’t come forward and the impact it’s having on the family, an emotional Nicola said: “What would they do if it was their son, if it was their child? How would they be feeling? This is just unbearable.
“It’s been nearly a month and so many people know nothing about this. An active serviceman just disappearing off the streets in the middle of England.”
On the issue of Corrie’s phone, which is still missing, she said: “The thing with the phone. There are bins at the back of there, large industrial bins and only one got picked up at 4am from the bin company. That then travelled to the Barton Mills area. They know from analysis they’ve done on the phone, the triangulation that it’s taken the phone 28 minutes to get from Bury to Barton Mills. There’s also motion activated camera at the Barton Mills roundabout which only shows the bin. However, the bin had 11kg of rubbish in it, it was paper from the back of Greggs, Corrie is about 90kg so he certainly wasn’t in.”
Nicola is due to appear in the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme this morning at 10.30am and Corrie’s brother Darroch and uncle Tony Wringe appeared on Sky News yesterday afternoon.
More than three weeks on from when Corrie went missing, police are continuing work to locate him including CCTV viewing, ground and air searches and background information gathering in a bid to discover what has happened. They have even searched empty properties newly purchased in the area by Havebury Housing Partnership.
Officers are continuing to keep an open mind and all possible lines of enquiry are being followed up, however at this stage police still have no confirmed sighting of Corrie beyond 3.20am on Saturday 24 September.
Police are continuing to ask local residents, businesses and landowners across the Bury St Edmunds, Barton Mills and Honington area to check any outbuildings and property in the ongoing bid to find Corrie.
Anyone who was out in Bury St Edmunds between 3am and 6am on Saturday September 24 or anyone with information that may assist is urged to call the incident room on 01473 782019.
You can report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
You can download a PDF of the police Corrie appeal poster to print and display here.