Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Damien Nettles disappearance: Concert to raise £10,000 reward

Damien Nettles
Image caption Damien was last seen after a night out in West Cowes 15 years ago

A concert is being held to raise reward money to help catch the killers in the murder of teenager Damien Nettles 15 years ago.

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

The Nettles family hopes to offer £10,000 in a bid to solve the case.

The event on 20 April at Cowes Yacht Haven is organised by Gennive Woolston, a friend of the Nettles family who went to school with Damien's sister.

Ms Woolston said: "It started off as an idea to sell tickets for a school disco but I thought why not make the night big to not just raise money, but awareness of the reward.

"The generosity of island residents has been amazing.

"A full list of companies, bands etc that have donated their time or services will be revealed after the gig because the help has not stopped yet.

"Due to the overwhelming generosity of everyone I have approached so far, every penny of the £10 ticket price will go to Damien's reward fund."

Local bands The Ohmz, EnglanE and Cornerstone will be performing, along with London group The Zarrs and a guest DJ from the new Wight Island Radio.

Ms Woolston added: "Damien's mum Valerie is travelling from the United States especially for the event."

Unpaid drugs debt

Damien had lived with his family in Woodvale Road, Gurnard, but they have since moved to Texas.

Valerie 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 knows 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.

Forensic officers carried out a search of the property, surveyed the ground inside and outside the address, excavated the back garden and used dogs in the search.

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