Mum of Luke Durbin tells of her pain as 10th anniversary of his disappearance approaches

Luke, Nicki and Alicia Durbin

Luke, Nicki and Alicia Durbin - Credit: Archant

For 10 long years Nicki Durbin has fought relentlessly of trying to find out what happened to her son Luke who went missing after a night out in Ipswich.

Luke Durbin went missing in Ipswich in May 2006

Luke Durbin went missing in Ipswich in May 2006 - Credit: Archant

Each day the 47-year-old old clings to the shred of hope that the 19-year-old son she last saw more than 3,600 days ago will be found.

Since May 12, 2006, Ms Durbin has done everything in her power to discover what happened to her eldest child who left his Hollesley home the previous day never to return.

Approaching the 10th anniversary of Luke’s disappearance Ms Durbin spoke about her relentless quest.

She said: “When Luke went missing I felt I was walking this fine line between sanity and insanity.

Luke Durbin
aged three in 1990

Luke Durbin aged three in 1990


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“On reflection I was going through the most devastating, debilitating despair imaginable to a human.

“I used to wake up with a knot in my stomach thinking ‘did they [the police] knock at my door? Did they find Luke?’

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“Now I still wake up with a knot in my stomach, but not thinking there’s going to be a knock at my door.

“I continue to get really black days and really black weeks. Now I just allow it to happen and know I’m going to come back up.

“Containment of my emotions is not healthy, but I just don’t know what else to do. I suppose it is just about surviving.

“I have learned to live with it because there isn’t a choice.

“People always say time’s a healer. I would say time has definitely not healed me in any way and I don’t think it ever will.

“However, over time I have got better and better at concealing my feelings and continuing to run two separate lives.

“What is perhaps not really understood is the longer time goes on the more devastating the realisation is that I will never see my child again.

“I have got so contained emotionally I know I portray something very different outwardly to what is going on inwardly.”

After the initial avalanche of publicity following Luke’s disappearance Ms Durbin then felt police were not doing enough to find him.

However, in the last five or six years she believes the investigation has found new impetus with the help of Suffolk’s major investigation team led by the now-retired Detective Superintendent John Brocklebank.

Ms Durbin, who has moved to Ipswich, said: “The thought of not being able to see Luke again… if I dwelt on that, I don’t think I would be able to function day-to-day.

“Over the last 10 years what has enabled me to function on the level I do is originally fighting everyone because I couldn’t believe more was not being done [to find Luke], and then once I decided if the police were not going to do the work I would do the work and publicity, and that’s just been my focus for the last 10 years.

“When Luke went missing it was two or three weeks off my daughter Alicia’s 17th birthday and Alicia kept saying ‘I know he will ring for my birthday’. I think I started believing it.

“It was so devastating, especially for her because Alicia was in absolute denial.

“Luke and Alicia have always, and will always be, my life.

“The first year I just didn’t know how to get through it. I think I knew it would be so traumatic.”

To keep up the profile and pressure of Luke’s case Ms Durbin organised a Year and a Day event at the Riverside Theatre.

She tried to get as many high-profile people there as possible. The event was hosted by former Lebanon hostage John McCarthy, who lived in the area.

Ms Durbin said: “I was very fortunate having fantastic friends who helped me do that. No anniversary is ever easy. It just seems so unbelievable that 10 years ago Luke went missing and we are no further forward with actually finding him, and we are measuring it in decades now.

“Luke was 19 when he went missing. It’s 10 years that he has not been here. If that carries on for another nine or 10 years I will have lost him for as long as I had him.

“It just seems so unfair. This very vibrant young man has just simply vanished off the face of the earth and no-one can find him.

“I know someone knows what happened to Luke and I still believe it’s someone local that has that bit of information. I would just beg them to come forward with that information.

“I would like to thank everyone who has continued to support my search for Luke.

“If it hadn’t been for the general public Luke would still be another unknown missing child.

“I hope Luke is alive, living another life and for reasons unbeknown to all of us he just can’t come home.

“Sadly, I don’t think that this is the case, but I hope we find Luke in my lifetime.”

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