- 2 updates
It is exactly 18 years since the disappearance of teenager Damien Nettles during a night out on the Isle of Wight. The last confirmed sighting of him on CCTV was at a chip shop in Cowes late on the night of November the 2nd, 1996. Despite searches taking place and rewards being offered no trace of him has ever been found. Richard Jones reports.
The disappearance of a teenager from the Isle of Wight is being highlighted this weekend - 18 years after he was last seen.
16-year-old Damien Nettles from Gurnard on the island was last seen during a night out in the town of Cowes in 1996.
The last confirmed sighting of Damien on surviving available CCTV was in Yorkie’s fish and chip shop off Cowes High Street at 11.35pm on Saturday, November 2, 1996.
Damien was also positively identified by his family from CCTV of Cowes High Street at 12.02am on Sunday, November 3, 1996. This footage showed Damien walking to a bus stop and then back along the High Street eating his chips.
The files on Damien Nettles remain with the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) for regular checks. These include:
• Contacting Coroner's officers about the discoveries of any unidentified bodies similar to Damien's description.
• Analysing the credibility of any new information reported to police.
No new lines of enquiry have been identified by Hampshire Constabulary over the past year. However, the case is not closed.
Previous police actions in this case include:
• 1,134 people have been involved in the investigation (either as investigators, witnesses, or people of interest) since Damien Nettles disappeared on November 2, 1996.
• 357 witness statements have been taken to date since November 2, 1996.
• 2,553 documents have been reviewed and processed.
• Between 2010 and 2012, it was necessary for the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) to concentrate on analysing and acting upon the information already passed to police by the local community.
• This analysis led police in 2011 to arrest eight people who were questioned over the course of a year, and later released with no further action.
• Officers focused on completing existing enquiries while suspects were on bail. We did not charge anyone with a criminal offence.
• Murder or foul play cannot be ruled out.
• Hampshire Constabulary offered a £20,000 reward between October 4, 2012 and April 4, 2013 for facts leading to the location of Damien Nettles.
• Police received 30 reports of information.
• Each of the 30 reports of information has been analysed and assessed in line with police procedures.
• None of the information led to new lines of enquiry. However, the case was not closed.
Hampshire Constabulary remains disappointed that Damien has not been found yet. Our files continue to be kept open to receive any new facts anyone may have about what happened to the teenager in November 1996.
A key point to repeat and remember in this case is the reporting of any new facts - not fictions fuelled by the repetition of rumour.
Anyone with information can contact the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) at Fratton Police Station by phoning 101 or emailing email@example.com