Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Damien Nettles' mother on island for murder reward concert

Damien Nettles
Image caption At the time of his disappearance the teenager lived with his family in Woodvale Road

The mother of missing Damien Nettles has returned to the Isle of Wight to raise money to catch the killers she believes are responsible.

The 16-year-old was last seen after a night out in West Cowes, Isle of Wight, on 2 November 1996.

Damien had lived with his family in Woodvale Road, Gurnard, but his mother Valerie Nettles moved to Texas after her husband had to move there for work.

Mrs Nettles will attend a concert to raise a reward to solve the case.

Money raised from the concert, at Cowes Yacht Haven, will be donated to the Nettles family who hope to offer a £10,000 reward.

Mrs Nettles said: "No parent should have to be asking that question, 'Where's my child's body?'.

"No parent should lose a child. But this happens, but in our case there's been no explanation. He went out one night with his buddies and he never came home.

'Scared of something'

"Sixteen years is the kicker for me because I don't know how I'm going to feel on that one.

"I had him 16 years and he'll have been gone 16 years in November. That's going to be a difficult one but we'll get through it I'm sure."

The concert, organised by Gennive Woolston, a friend of the Nettles family, also aims to raise the profile of the case.

Ms Woolston, who went to school with Damien's sister, said: "There's probably many reasons why people don't come forward, it could be loyalty, it could be because they're scared of something but they may now have had their own children, or grandchildren and feel totally different about things (now)."

Image caption Valerie Nettles hopes the reward will encourage witnesses to come forward

Mrs Nettles believes her son was beaten to death by a drugs gang over an unpaid cannabis debt.

She believes there are people on the island who know what happened to Damien and she hopes the reward will encourage them to come forward.

Hampshire Police have said they are "keeping an open mind" about Mrs Nettles's claims.

They said they would not "rule out any options" in the investigation but have not endorsed the family's reward.

A 38-year-old man from Ryde has been arrested on suspicion of murder. A woman, 36, and a man, 45, both from Cowes, have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. All three are on bail until 7 June.

Four other men arrested last year were released without charge in February.

The last confirmed sighting of Damien was on CCTV at Yorkie's fish and chip shop in Cowes High Street at about 23:45 GMT.

In May last year specialist teams using rafts to comb the water and reed beds at Dodnor Nature Reserve, near Newport, failed to find his body.

No evidence was found during a police search of a property at Marsh Road, in Gurnard, in November 2011.

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