Ben Needham: Mother told missing toddler may have been killed in digger accident

Martin Geissler

Former ITV News Correspondent

The mother of Ben Needham, the British toddler who disappeared on a Greek island 25 years ago, has been told police may be on the verge of solving the mystery.

Detectives have warned Kerry Needham to brace herself for bad news, as they prepare to dig through two sites close to the spot where the youngster was last seen.

They believe Ben may have been killed in an accident involving a mechanical digger, and buried shortly after. A team of detectives will travel to Greece to lead excavation work later this month.

Ben went missing on the island of Kos in 1991, when he was just 21 months old. A massive international search has yielded no clues as to his whereabouts but his mother, Kerry, has never given up hope of finding him alive.

She accepts that with limited police resources, this may be the "last push" for the investigation, and it promises to deliver heartbreak either way.

If police do find Ben's body, the light she's been following all these years will finally be extinguished. But if the search delivers nothing, she knows the agony of uncertainty may last forever.

The search has been prompted by new information. A Greek man has told police his friend killed Ben in an accident involving a mechanical digger. The digger driver died recently, and only now has his friend felt able to come forward.

Kerry is frightened of what the coming weeks may hold, but she's angry, too.

In a powerful interview, she told me she blames the new witness for subjecting her to 25 years of misery.

The search will focus close to this farmhouse, the last place Ben was seen. Credit: ITV News

"He could have ended this 25 years ago", she told me "I could have grieved, had my'll never forget your child but at least I would have known where he was and I could have done something with my life instead of having a life on hold and not being able to do anything or focus on anything and living this nightmare.

"It could have been ended 25 years ago. I could have probably forgiven that person back then, but now? No."

Kerry Needham is a strong woman, impressive, engaging and articulate. Her strength has been stretched to its limits over the past quarter century but she knows her biggest test is yet to come.