Pierre Barnes: Father's tribute to missing boy
- 31 October 2012
- From the section Lincolnshire
The father of a 12-year-old Lincolnshire boy who went missing on an island in France believes his son died sheltering from the "biting cold".
Stephen Barnes said his son must have become disorientated trying to find his way in a storm.
The search for Pierre who vanished on Porquerolles while cycling on Saturday was called off on Tuesday.
Mr Barnes said he was "a very curious, fun, lovable little boy who people used to refer to as my shadow."
Rescuers found the youngster's bike, with its chain broken, and one of his shoes on a path about 3km from the holiday home his family were renting over half-term.
Mr Barnes said: "I went down to the cove yesterday with my wife to see where the bicycle was and I also saw where the shoe was.
"It's quite clear to me that he left the bike, went down to the water, then came up again and would not have seen where he'd come in.
"As the biting cold set in, he found somewhere out of the wind but, of course, also where he's probably very hard to find. I don't believe he's lost at sea, it's possible of course."
Mr Barnes said he and his wife, and Pierre's three siblings Zoe, 17, Desmond, 15, and Clemence, 13, would be going back in two groups to avoid being a group of five with one missing.
He said: "Pierre gave us tremendous love. He received lots of love from us, but we as a family were enriched by that little life, that 12 years we had with him. We wouldn't not have had him for those 12 years because he did bring tremendous joy to all of us."
"We've been through periods when we've all been crying our eyes out. At other times we've felt quite tranquil, and looking out at the beautiful scenery we've managed to try and gain some calm, and sometimes we've been able to be calm.
"But then little things will trigger another flood of tears - we'll see the boarding pass that he would have used to go back and the emotions will flood back again."
Zoe Barnes said her younger brother was "a little eccentric, bright and clever".
"He was absolutely lovely, had strange obsessions and little eccentricities, but he was full of character and personality and full of life.
"It hasn't properly sunk in yet that we're a family of five now. It's very upsetting. I used to think I had problems but they seem very, very petty now."