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Mum’s pain endures as detectives re-issue images in Luke Durbin inquiry

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 May 2017

Luke Durbin as a youngster, with his mother Nicki and sister Alicia Durbin

Luke Durbin as a youngster, with his mother Nicki and sister Alicia Durbin


Tomorrow marks the 11th anniversary of the disappearance of 19-year-old Luke Durbin who went on a night out in Ipswich and has not been seen since.

Although outwardly stoic after more than 4,000 tortuous days without him, the pain of not knowing what happened to her son is still as raw as ever for his mother Nicki.

Today police and Luke’s family are making a renewed appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

Detectives have re-issued images of people they were unable to trace at the time in the hope they can be identified so officers can speak to them to see if they have any information which may help discover what happened to the teenager, who lived in Hollesley.

Nicki Durbin now lives in Ipswich. She manages to compartmentalise her life by clinging on to some sense of normality through work and doing the day-to-day things, but Luke is always on her mind.

A cyclist seen in the vicinity around 4.16am.A cyclist seen in the vicinity around 4.16am.

The 48-year-old said: “My biggest fear is never finding out what happened to Luke before I die.

“When I reported Luke missing I thought that within days or weeks we would know where he was. Never in my wildest nightmares did I imagine 11 years ago we would still be looking for him today.

“The only thing that changes with time is just your ability to manage both parts of your life.

“I don’t think of Luke any less. I still don’t feel that I will ever stop searching for Luke and the pain certainly hasn’t changed. It’s just the ability to manage that pain.”

A person wearing a hooded coat and dark trousers walking around the corner of Fore Street past the Spread Eagle public house about 4.11amA person wearing a hooded coat and dark trousers walking around the corner of Fore Street past the Spread Eagle public house about 4.11am

Over the past two weeks the profile of missing people has been elevated in the public consciousness.

Publicity over Madeleine McCann’s disappearance was re-ignited on the 10th anniversary of the day she went missing in Portugal on May 3. The ongoing quest to find Corrie McKeague has also kept the spotlight on missing people, as has the recent appeals to find 52-year-old Clacton man Nigel Kedar.

Ms Durbin feels empathy with all their families.

She said: “I think because I had contact with other families from very early on after Luke went missing, when I see a new missing person case and see the appeals from the family my heart goes out to them.

A person in the distance, who appears to be walking a dog, in Dogs Head Street close to the pedestrian crossing.A person in the distance, who appears to be walking a dog, in Dogs Head Street close to the pedestrian crossing.

“My first hope for them is that their missing loved one comes home very quickly and if that’s not the case I hope they don’t have to endure ‘long-term missing’ and their loved one is found, whatever the outcome.”

“The thing is with families living with a missing loved one is that we are all geographically separated.

“Many of the families that come up in the national press on another anniversary have become friends of mine over the years.

“From my perspective I can just completely relate to that. What those families have to do is to put their child’s case in the public arena so they are never forgotten.”

Luke Durbin, of Hollesley, who has been missing for 11 yearsLuke Durbin, of Hollesley, who has been missing for 11 years

Luke vanished after going out with friends on Thursday, May 11, 2006. However, Luke separated from them in the early hours of Friday, May 12.

The last confirmed sighting of him was on CCTV footage that shows him walking across Dogs Head Street in the direction of the bus station at 4am.

He was reported missing by his mother the next day.

Over the past 11 years extensive enquiries have been made to try and find him.

CCTV images from the area were released in the first weeks of the investigation in a bid to trace those in the area at the time.

Now detectives are re-releasing some of them in a bid to try to trigger memories more than a decade on.

Ms Durbin said: “I would appeal to anyone who recognises themselves or recognises someone else in those images to come forward.

“They might have seen Luke and not be aware of it. I appreciate 11 years is a very long time, but they might have unbeknown to them seen something that would finally bring the answers about what happened to Luke.”

In 2012 police made two arrests – one on suspicion of murder, the other on suspicion of being concerned in Luke’s murder. However, both men faced no further action.

Police would like contact details for any of the individuals shown in the images and are asking them to get in touch by calling the major investigation team on 01473 782019.

Alternatively, anyone who has information about Luke’s disappearance can also call Crimestoppers, anonymously if preferred, on 0800 555 111.

Detective Inspector Kevin Hayward, of Suffolk Constabulary’s major investigation team, said; “All of those pictured in CCTV images issued at the time were treated as potential witnesses and this remains the case.

There is nothing at this time to indicate they had any involvement in his disappearance - but we are keen to speak to them.

“We would ask that anyone who recognises themselves, or anyone who may have information to identify those pictured, contact us. We would also ask anyone else who may have information to call. With the passage of time you may feel that you can come forward and share something you might not have done before.

“Following each anniversary appeal we have received calls, showing that this is still something that people have information on, so even eleven years after he was last seen we hope this new appeal may prompt a response that leads us to finding out what happened that morning.”

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The list was put together by a panel of judges this summer after we asked readers for their nominations.

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