Gibraltar

Simon Parkes: Gibraltar Search For Missing Sailor Ends

The search has found some bone material which needs to be analysed.

Officers investigating the disappearance of Royal Navy sailor Simon Parkes nearly 33 years ago have ended their search.

Hampshire Constabulary travelled to Gibraltar to carry out searches in Trafalgar Cemetery after new information from a former crewmate surfaced.

During the search, some bone material was discovered, but police say it requires further forensic analysis to determine whether or not it is human.

While the search in Gibraltar has been ended, the investigation will continue.

Royal Navy Rating Simon Parkes, a radio operator from Bristol, was 18 years old when he was last seen on December 12, 1986.

He was serving on HMS Illustrious and went missing after he went to shore in Gibraltar, as the ship was on its last stop before returning to Portsmouth.

The activity in Gibraltar has also sparked several new calls into the Major Crime Investigation Team offering new lines of enquiry both in the UK and in Gibraltar.

Trafalgar Cemetery in Gibraltar during Simon Parkes investigation
Detectives launched a search at Trafalgar Cemetery on Monday.

Detective Inspector Roger Wood, who headed up the team, said: "We knew that there was a chance we wouldn’t find Simon, but we owed it to his family and his crewmates to try.

"The information that led us to Trafalgar Cemetery is credible and as with any cold case, we will take action if new, viable lines of enquiry present themselves," he added.

Det Insp Wood further thanked the public and Simon's parents for their "continued support throughout this investigation".

He said: "They deserve to know what happened to their son and we will continue our work to find those answers they so desperately want."

A search was launched when Mr Parkes originally went missing, with some suggesting he may have been involved in an accident or gone absent without authorised leave.

Failed efforts to find Mr Parkes were followed by a Gibraltar-wide search in 2003.

The investigation is being treated as a murder inquiry, though other possibilities are also being considered.

Anyone with information about the disappearance of Simon Parkes can call 101, quoting Operation Thornhill 2, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online by visiting this link.