Twenty years on: Plea for information on missing David Spencer and Patrick Warren

The brother of a missing boy who disappeared two decades ago along with his friend has issued a fresh plea for information as the 20-year anniversary approaches.

David Spencer, 13, and his friend Patrick Warren, 11, vanished after buying a packet of biscuits at a petrol station in Chelmsley Wood near Birmingham on Boxing Day 1996.

Patrick's red Apollo mountain bike, which he had been given as a Christmas present a day earlier, was later discovered hidden by bins at the back of the petrol station, but no trace of the boys has been found since.

David's younger brother, Lee O'Toole, said he still suffers nightmares about the day he disappeared and never came home again.

Speaking to ITV News, Lee, who's now 29, said: "There's not a day that goes by that I don't at some point in the day think of him.

"I tell myself that he's no longer alive and that's the way it went but some days I do get up and have good and bad days and some days I think could he walk through the door? Could it be today? But it never happens."

Twenty years on, Lee wants answers on what happened to his brother David. Credit: ITV News

David was a promising young boxer. Lee has given permission for the first moving footage of David at a boxing match to be released in the hope it might jog someone's memory about what happened.

David and Patrick had boasted that they were going on a big adventure together.

Earlier on the day they went missing the pair were spotted by a police officer with a group of friends playing on Meriden Lake, which was frozen at the time.

They then went home and told David's family they were staying at Patrick's brother's house.

In the early hours of December 27, 1996 they were reported missing.

With no clues in the hunt for the two youngsters, their faces soon appeared on milk bottles in the hope that someone might come forward with information.

David Spencer was a promising young boxer. Credit: West Midlands Police
Police searching for the boys after their disappearance. Credit: ITV
The boys' faces appeared on milk bottles in an appeal for information. Credit: ITV

The case went cold for a decade until it was reopened on the 10th anniversary.

Police received an anonymous letter suggesting where the boys may be buried.

Separately, detectives questioned Brian Field who was convicted that year for kidnapping and murdering another teenage boy. He lived close to where David and Patrick went missing.

Field has denied any involvement but police say he has not been eliminated from their inquiry.

The pair haven't been seen since Boxing Day 1996. Credit: West Midlands Police
Brian Field has denied any involvement.
David Spencer was just 13 when he went missing. Credit: West Midlands Police

Last Wednesday would have been David's 33rd birthday and, with the 20th anniversary of his and Patrick's disappearance less than a week away, Lee said his family just want answers.

"We could have somewhere to go and put flowers down on his birthday, Boxing Day, Christmas, and we could move on with our life," he said. "It's the not knowing that's the hard bit.

"After all these years I just want to know where David is. If something terrible has happened, if I know about it at least I can grieve.

"I would like to give him a proper funeral and have a special place that I can visit. That is important to me and his brother, to know that we could go and see him.

"Even if it is bad news, I would rather know. Any piece of information, however little, could make the difference to the police so that they can find my brother."

David (left) with brothers John (middle) and Lee (right) Credit: West Midlands Police