Fresh search begins for sailor who went missing in Gibraltar in 1986

210920-Sailor Simon Parkes
Sailor Simon Parkes went missing in 1986.

Detectives from Hampshire searching for a Portsmouth sailor who went missing thirty years ago are to carry out fresh searches overseas. 

Simon Parkes was 18 years old when he went to serve on board HMS Illustrious in 1986, but he disappeared while it was docked in Gibraltar.

The radio operator went onto shore but never made it back on-board and when the ship returned to Portsmouth days later, no one knew what had happened to him despite a huge manhunt to find him.

In 2019, searches took place in Trafalgar Cemetery, but now officers will spend another two weeks at the site investigating new areas of interest.

Detective Inspector Adam Edwards said: “We owe it to him and his family to ensure we have followed every legitimate line of enquiry in a bid to give them the answers they have been waiting 30 years for. The searches in December proved successful with regards to generating new lines of enquiry and these new searches are as a result of those."

Searches took place in Gibraltar in 2019.

Officers found bone material during their searches in Gibraltar in December, however they are still waiting for the results of forensic testing.

Detective Inspector John Olivera of the Royal Gibraltar Police said: “We continue to work closely with Hampshire Constabulary on the investigation in order to follow all new lines of enquiry in a bid to provide Simon’s family with some closure.  Over the next two weeks, the public in Gibraltar can expect to see a large Police presence in and around the area of the Trafalgar cemetery, whilst the search operation is ongoing."