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  1. ITV Report

Gillingham footballer's son, 11, found safe after public appeal

Gabriel Zakuani playing for Peterborough United. Credit: PA

A professional footballer has shared his relief at finding his 11-year-old son safe, after he failed to return home from school on Wednesday.

Gillingham FC captain Gabriel Zakuani had said his son Ajae Blackwood-Petrie was last seen on the way to the bus stop in Leatherhead, Surrey, on Wednesday.

Surrey Police officers had described the disappearance as “out of character”.

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Detective Inspector Oana King said: “This is out of character for Ajae, and we are growing increasingly concerned for his safety.

“He normally comes home from school around 5pm, but yesterday, he did not return home.

“Ajae, if you are reading this, please make contact with us so we know that you are OK. You are not in any trouble, but we do want to hear from you.”

His father, Zakuani, appealed on Twitter for anyone with information to contact Surrey or Met police.

On Thursday, he shared his relief after his son was found safe.

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The Congo-born defender played at Leyton Orient, Peterborough United and Stoke City before joining Gillingham in 2017.