Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Timmy MacColl: Wife criticises missing sailor probe

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Media captionThe Royal Navy said it remained "deeply concerned" about the sailor

The wife of a Hampshire sailor missing in Dubai has criticised the inquiry into his disappearance.

Leading Seaman Timmy MacColl was last seen during a visit to the UAE by HMS Westminster in May.

Rachael MacColl, from Gosport, said she was "frustrated" by the lack of information from the Dubai authorities and initial delays in informing her.

The navy said it remained "deeply concerned" about the sailor and the case is being led by Dubai police.

LS MacColl, originally from Killin, in Stirlingshire, was last seen in the early hours of 27 May, while on shore leave.

It is believed crew mates put him in a taxi outside a bar after a night out, but he failed to return to the ship.

Searches in the port and underwater failed to find him.

Members of the MacColl family held a joint press conference with the Royal Navy in Portsmouth on Wednesday.

Cmdr Jonathan Hodgkins said there was "regular and frequent" liaison between UK and UAE authorities.

He said: "Primacy is with the Dubai police and the offer for the witnesses to be interviewed by video-link remains open.

"We continue to do everything we can to find out why Timmy is missing."

'Communication breakdown'

But Mrs MacColl said there had been a "communication breakdown" and she was spending hundreds of pounds calling the authorities in Dubai trying to get information.

Image caption Mrs MacColl gave birth to the couple's third child in September

She said the Dubai police had been invited to the press conference but had declined to attend.

"It's been hard work to get any information," she said.

"I can't tell you who is responsible for the communication breakdown but it still affects the investigation today - it's very frustrating.

"There is no evidence come back from Dubai that my husband is alive or has passed - nothing.

"In my heart of hearts I don't think he made it back to the port. I believe along the route, something has [happened].

"I sometimes hope he is in a police cell somewhere and no-one has found him yet - that's what I hold on to," she said.

She was also critical of not being told about her husband's disappearance by the navy for 72 hours.

The navy said it refused to comment on specific aspects of the case and has previously said a Service Inquiry established in September would assess current missing persons procedures.

Gosport MP Caroline Dineage said: "You can't walk in and demand to take over the investigation.

"We have to allow Dubai to take the lead and trust they will do the job properly. I haven't heard anything to say they are not."

A Bring Timmy Home campaign has been set up by family and friends who have been raising awareness by placing yellow ribbons around the Gosport area.

A Facebook group has so far attracted 106,000 people.

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