'I'm frightened I'll die before I see him': Missing Craig Hetherington's mum appeals for information

The mother of a man who went missing in Middlesbrough 20 years ago has appealed for information about his whereabouts, saying she's "not got a lot of time left".

Sandra Flintoft's son Craig Hetherington went missing after a night out in Middlesbrough in 2003.

On the 20th anniversary of his disappearance, she told ITV News Tyne Tees: "Five years ago I was diagnosed with blood cancer. I’m frightened that I die before I see him.

"We’ve not got a lot of time left and I want to find out what happened to him. I want to know whether my boy is alive or if he’s dead."

Craig was 22 when he disappeared. He was last seen outside the old Cornerhouse nightclub near Middlesbrough train station at around 1am on Satruday 22 February, 2003.

He had left the pub to go for a taxi, but disappeared after walking towards the River Tees and the A66.

Cleveland Police carried out extensive searches for the Teesside University student, but to no avail.

Mrs Flintoft said: "Craig had been to university that day. He’d handed in an assignment and he came back and he said that he was meeting some of the boys and they were all going down into town that night and his parting words to me were ‘put some lasagne on a plate mum, I’ll have it when I come in’.

"The lasagne was still there the next day. By the Sunday I was getting really, really worried. We discussed it and then on the Monday morning I then reported it to the police."

Craig Hetherington (Right) and his brother Mark Credit: Family Photograph

She explained how the family trawled the streets handing out missing posters of Craig in bars and restaurants in the town and following a milk bottle missing person campaign, she said the family were given false hope after a possible sighting.

She said: "A lady from Rotherham had rang in and said that she thinks she’d seen him and the police spoke to the young man in the flat, but they didn’t think it was Craig, but they wanted me to come in just to confirm.

"This young lad just put his head over the bannister at the top of the stairs and he looked at me and he just said ‘I’m sorry I’m not your son Mrs’. It was very emotional, but it wasn’t Craig."

Alan Flintoft added: "Craig was loved and we're desperate to get him back home. If there's anybody out there who can give us any information one way or another, we'd be glad of that."

Craig and Mark Hetherington Credit: Family Photograph

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: "We will always act on any new information that is provided and would welcome information from the public which may help us find out what happened to Craig Hetherington.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101. Independent Charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org."

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