On Air Now
Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston and Lucy Horobin 6:30am - 10am
2 November 2013, 11:52
Saturday (November 2, 2013) marks 17 years since teenager Damien Nettles was last seen on the Isle of Wight.
The 16-year-old from Gurnard on the island disappeared during a night out in Cowes on Saturday, November 2, 1996.
Hampshire Police are highlighting the date to help remind people that this case is not closed.
Final sightings of Damien
The last confirmed sighting of Damien on surviving available CCTV is Damien in Yorkie’s fish and chip shop off Cowes High Street at 11.35pm on Saturday, November 2, 1996.
Damien was also positively identified by his family from CCTV of Cowes High Street at 12.02am on Sunday, November 3, 1996. This footage showed Damien walking to a bus stop and then back along the High Street eating his chips.
At the time of his disappearance, the description of Damien was:
Six foot three inches tall
Short brown hair, shaved at the back
He was last seen wearing:
A black fleece jacket
Dark blue jeans
Recent offer of a £10,000 reward by anonymous businessman on the Isle of Wight
Information was passed to police as a result of responses to the businessman’s reward during the summer and autumn. The content was analysed. However, none of these responses provided new evidence or any new credible lines of enquiry.
Nevertheless, police say they appreciate any member of the public who takes the time to make contact in good faith with a sincere intention to help.
The status of the case with Hampshire Police
Senior investigating officer Chief Superintendent Dave Powell said:
“As appeals are made on the 17th anniversary, the key point to remember is the reporting of any new facts - not fictions fuelled by the repetition of rumour.
"Although no new lines of enquiry exist to be followed at the moment, we are considering what other reasonable actions police could take in future. This follows a detailed review of all police files on Damien's disappearance earlier this year.
“This case is not closed as far as Hampshire Constabulary is concerned. We have gathered a substantial amount of information over the past 17 years.
“Our files remain open to receive any new facts that members of the public may have about Damien’s disappearance or location.
“I would like to express my respect and gratitude to the Nettles family and everyone else who has supported the latest efforts to solve this case over the past year."
Actions in this case to date now include
1,134 people have been involved in the investigation (either as investigators, witnesses, or people of interest) since Damien Nettles disappeared on November 2, 1996.
357 witness statements have been taken to date since November 2, 1996.
2,553 documents have been reviewed and processed.
Between 2010 and 2012, it was necessary for the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) to concentrate on analysing and acting upon the information already passed to police by the local community. This led police to arrest eight people who were questioned over the course of a year, and later released with no further action. Officers focused on completing existing enquiries while multiple suspects were on bail. We did not charge anyone with a criminal offence.
Murder or foul play cannot be ruled out.
Hampshire Constabulary offered a £20,000 reward between October 4, 2012 and April 4, 2013 for facts leading to the location of Damien Nettles. Police received 30 reports of information. Each of the 30 reports of information has been analysed and assessed in line with police procedures. None of the information led to new lines of enquiry. However, the case was not closed.
How to contact police if you have facts
Anyone with facts about the Damien Nettles case can contact Hampshire Constabulary by phoning 101 and asking for the Major Investigation Team at Fratton police station in Portsmouth or emailing email@example.com
Mini-com users can phone 18001 101. Information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.