Ben Needham’s mother reacts to developments in Madeleine McCann case

Ben Needham disappeared 29 years ago Credit: PA

The mother of Ben Needham, the 21-month-old toddler who disappeared on the greek Island of Kos 29 years ago, has spoken to Calendar after the naming of a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case - saying it must be "horrific and heartbreaking" for her parents Kate and Gerry.

German prosecutors say a 43-year-old German national, a convicted sex offender currently in prison for unrelated crimes, is a suspect and Madeleine's case is being treated as a murder investigation.

The three-year-old disappeared from a holiday complex in Portugal's Algarve in May 2007.

In a conversation with Calendar Producer Mark Witty, who has worked extensively on Ben's case, and helped raise its profile in Greece, Kerry Needham spoke about the turmoil that Madeleine's parents must be suffering.

Regarding the new suspect, Kerry added:

The financial disparity between the two cases is marked. "Operation Grange" investigating the McCann case has cost nearly £12 million while Home Office funding for "Operation Ben" has been around £1 million.

Kerry is grateful for the funding South Yorkshire Police secured, but remains angry that Ben's case wasn't helped earlier:

A second excavation, in September and October 2016, of land around the farmhouse where Ben disappeared failed to find any physical evidence of a body. But South Yorkshire Police's conclusion was that Ben died in an accident with a digger which was being driven around the area, on the day he went missing - July 24, 1991. The digger driver died in 2015.

An excavation in 2016 failed to find any physical evidence of a body Credit: ITV News

"Operation Ben" detectives had told Kerry they would be searching for a body when they met her in July 2016. She said:

Officers found a number of items in the 2016 excavation, and a previous one in 2012, but it was two specific samples which were tested - a toy car which could have been Ben's, and a scrap of sandal leather. Although there were traces of human decomposition found, there was no DNA match to Ben.

Next month Ben's family will mark the 29th anniversary of his disappearance. They believe there are people on the Greek island who have concrete information about what happened to him, but have refused to come forward. They also believe it's never too late for new information to come to light.