Was Ben Needham 'seized' or 'snatched'?

Post  Tony Bennett Today at 4:28 pm
sharonl wrote:Fresh hope for mother of Ben Needham as British police may investigate 1991 Greek snatching for first time
The disappearance of toddler Ben Needham may be investigated by British police for the first time, two decades after he was snatched in Greece.

Prime Minister David Cameron gave his mother Kerry, 39, fresh hope when he lent support for a new investigation. No trace of the 21 month old was ever found after he vanished from Kos on a family holiday in 1991.

Mystery disappearance: Ben Needham was just 21 months when he was seized...

But was Ben Needham 'seized' or 'snatched'?

If the Britsih police are going to fully investigate this '1991 Greek snatching', they will almost certainly have to re-question Ben's uncle Stephen, who roared off on his motor-bike at the very moment Ben disappeared (his then 18-year-old mother had left Ben in the care of his grandparents and uncle whilst she was at work). 

There is no hard evidence that Ben was abducted.

Here are some data on the case:

1. From Wikipedia

On the day of his disappearance, Ben had been left in the care of his grandparents while his mother went to work at a local hotel. He had been playing near the doorway of the family's farmhouse whilst the adults were having lunch. His grandmother had taken her eyes off him for just a few minutes when it was discovered he was gone. This was sometime around half past two in the afternoon.

The family first searched the area for Ben, assuming he had wandered off, or that their teenage son, Stephen, had taken him out on his moped.

2. From a Guardian article

On 24 July, Christine, Eddie, Danny, Stephen and the owner of the house, Michaelis Kypreos, were in the farmhouse eating lunch. Ben was playing on the terrace just outside the door. He was running in and out, pouring water over his head and messing about with a stick. They could see through the open door on to the terrace where Ben was playing. There was a tree on which they'd hung his wet shorts.

At about two-thirty, Stephen left on his moped to go for a swim, a beer and a shower at Kerry's flat. Ben wanted to go with him; he'd been on the bike before, and now he wanted to go with his uncle. A few minutes after Stephen left, Christine registered that Ben had gone quiet and went outside. [NOTE by T.B. Earlier that morning he had been playing on the motorcycle and sitting on it] 

He was nowhere to be seen. She, Eddie, Danny and Michaelis Kypreos searched up and down the lane, in the field by the house, in a nearby orange grove, calling for him, looking anywhere he could conceivably be. When they couldn't find him, they assumed he must have gone with Stephen; it was the logical explanation. They thought Stephen had taken Ben for a ride and would bring him back.

About an hour later, thinking Stephen had gone to the caravan instead of coming back to the farmhouse, or had gone to Kerry's flat, Christine walked back to Paradisi, while Eddie, Danny and Kypreos stayed working on the roof.

In the early evening Eddie went to the caravan expecting to find Ben with Christine. He wasn't, so Eddie went to Kerry's flat, thinking he'd be there. Stephen was there, but without Ben. Eddie raced back to the caravan to tell Christine and then went back to Herakles in the Land Rover. Stephen took Christine to the police on his bike and then joined his father. It was several hours since Ben had vanished by the time the police took Christine to the hotel to tell Kerry what had happened. Kerry had finished her shift and was sitting by the swimming pool when her mother arrived, sobbing, to tell her Ben had disappeared.

The police took them both to Herakles to join Eddie and the boys. They searched, going to places that Ben could never have got to, covering some 15 acres, through olive groves and pomegranate orchards, riverbeds and long grass. The next day Kos police began their investigation and their first questions were directed at the Needhams. 

3. Summary of a TV documentary about the case

Revisits the case of Ben Needham, who disappeared ten years ago when he was twenty one months old whilst the family were staying on the Greek island of Kos. No trace of him has ever been found, although there have been several reported sightings and false trails. Ben's uncle Stephen Needham undergoes hypnosis to see if he can revive any memories of the day that may prove useful. He has disquieting images of killing Ben in a motorbike accident and burying him, but since police suggested this to him on several occassions during past interogations this may not signify anything.

4. From a Guardian article

When the family returned from Kos, though, Stephen got back into a normal pace of life much sooner than his sister and parents did. Within two years he was living with a girlfriend and by the time he was 23, he had two daughters. He was working on a building site, had passed his driving test and was enjoying life. But his relationship with the girls' mother started to break down, and eventually he left. "I know nobody would understand someone walking away from their kids," he said. "It killed me. If I'd stayed I wouldn't have been able to carry on. I'd have given up. I was already going through emotional stress: it was either leave and get away from it or go down with the sinking ship. But I was bonded with my children and that's what nearly killed me."

Ever since the police questioned Stephen, their idea that he might have had a hand in Ben's disappearance has haunted him. "Did I take him, did I pick him up and put him on my bike, did I drive down that lane? I was questioning my own sanity. It was always there. How could a child disappear, how could he just vanish? Did I forget him somewhere or have an accident? Did I run over him or fall off my bike? I've asked myself that again and again."

In 2001, when another TV documentary was made, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Ben's disappearance, Stephen was asked if he would be interviewed and whether he would undergo a form of hypnotherapy on camera. He agreed because he'd heard it might help to retrieve hidden memories.In the film he had to revisit the last moment he saw Ben and confront the doubt created by the police interrogation. It was traumatic but, when the filming was over, Stephen walked away sure that any suspicion that he or anyone else might have harboured that he could have accidentally killed Ben would be dispelled once and for all. Despite this, and although the film exonerates him, Stephen's fears were justified. 

A year ago, he was out having a drink with his brother Danny and Kerry's husband, Craig. "One of my mates was half asleep, drunk on a sofa and a group of lads were threatening him, so I went over and said, 'Give up, he's drunk,' and one of them went, 'Oh, aren't you that uncle of that Ben that disappeared?' I said yes. 'You took him on your bike, didn't you?'" 

5. 2003 Police investigation into Steve Needham and Kerry Needham's partner

THE uncle of missing child Ben Needham was last night at the centre of a police investigation in North Wales. Steve Needham was arrested early on Sunday after 22-year-old Alison Jarvis claimed she was grabbed and bundled towards a car in Wrexham. Also arrested was Pierce Mount, the partner of Ben’s mum, Kerry Needham. Miss Jarvis, of Cunningham Avenue,Wrexham, told officers she had been on a night out when she was confronted at about 3.30am outside Choice’s Video Shop,on Market Street. She claimed Mr Needham tried to drag her towards the car park on St George’s Crescent, where Mr Mount was waiting.

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