Simon Parkes missing Navy sailor 021219 CREDIT HANDOUT HAMPSHIRE POLICE

Gibraltar: Searches To Continue For Missing Simon Parkes

Royal Navy rating Simon Parkes was 18 years old when he went missing in Gibraltar in December 1986.

Simon Parkes missing Navy sailor 021219 CREDIT HANDOUT HAMPSHIRE POLICE

Further searches are to be carried out in Gibraltar as part of police investigations into the disappearance of Royal Navy sailor Simon Parkes more than 30 years ago.

Mr Parkes, a radio operator from Bristol, was last seen in December 1986 when the aircraft carrier on which he was serving, HMS Illustrious, docked in Gibraltar.

The Navy rating was 18 years old at the time.

A team from Hampshire Constabulary, alongside the Royal Gibraltar Police, carried out a week-long search of Gibraltar's Trafalgar Cemetery in December 2019 after new information emerged in the case.

Bone material was discovered, but police are still awaiting the results of forensic analysis.

New lines of enquiry have identified new areas of interest since that search at the end of last year.

Specialist teams will spend two weeks at Trafalgar Cemetery, the location where police say the new lines of enquiry remain.

Trafalgar Cemetery in Gibraltar during Simon Parkes investigation
Police say the next searches will again focus on Gibraltar's Trafalgar Cemetery, seen here in December 2019.

Simon Parkes was last seen more than 33 years ago when his ship docked in Gibraltar.

He told others at The Horseshoe pub on Main Street he was leaving to get food, but was never seen again.

The pub is just a short walk away from Trafalgar Cemetery in the centre of Gibraltar.

When Mr Parkes' ship returned to Portsmouth days later, no-one knew what had happened to him, despite a huge manhunt launched to find him. Since then investigations into his disappearance have failed to find any answers.

Detective Inspector Adam Edwards said: "These searches are a continuation of our investigation into the disappearance of Simon Parkes.

"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.

"While we did find bone material during our time out there in December, forensic testing on this takes time and we are still awaiting those results."

"We have kept Mr and Mrs Parkes informed of our progress and I’d like to thank them again for their support. We know this remains a difficult time for them and we hope our work will finally bring them the answers they so desperately want," he added.

Detective Inspector John Olivera of the Royal Gibraltar Police said: "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."

Cover image: Simon Parkes went missing more than 30 years ago (Picture: Hampshire Police).