Police deny claim Corrie landfill search based on details that were ‘not correct’

A police search team dwarfed by the Milton landfill cell in which they have already sifted through 8,500 tonnes of rubbish
A police search team dwarfed by the Milton landfill cell in which they have already sifted through 8,500 tonnes of rubbish

Missing airman Corrie McKeague’s mum Nicola Urquhart claimed the police search at the landfill has now been widened because it was initially based on evidence which was ‘not correct’.

Nicola said the initial search was carried out based on evidence from landfill owners FCC Environment, which owns the two sites, and a private haulage firm which it hires, which suggested just one lorry could have carried Corrie from the holding site on the Monday after his disappearance.

Corrie McKeague

Corrie McKeague

She claims police have now discovered it could have been more than one, which has prompted them to widen the search. But Suffolk Police say the landfill ‘cell’ they searched contained a whole week’s waste from Red Lodge and other transfer depots.

Nicola said of the search, which has just been resumed: “They were utterly convinced they were going to find him and it really did baffle them.

“They now realise that the information they were given wasn’t correct and they’ve [gone] back and kept questioning it and they’ve finally realised that it wasn’t just one lorry they should have been following.”

However, she defended the police decision to search in the cell saying she was now ‘extremely confident’ in their current investigation.

“The problem is that they can only go on what they were told at the time and what they were told at the time was that it was just the one lorry that went in,” she added.

“There’s a chance that Corrie actually never left with that bin lorry – it could have been the second (lorry) or possibly the day after.”

She added: “I’ve got to get my mind and heart back into waiting for a phone call every day for the next six weeks once they start searching and that’s incredibly difficult so I’m just trying to focus on the positive now.

“Words can’t describe the lengths that I would go to be able to find Corrie and I will never ever give up.”

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “The area of Cell 22 within the original search parameters was identified as a result of a number of pieces of information and was extended twice following further data that came to light including data in respect of a vehicle taking waste to the landfill site.

“The fact remains that the waste excavated to date includes approximately one weeks’ worth of waste from FCC Red Lodge and other transfer stations throughout the region and so the waste from a number of lorries delivering to the site during this period has been excavated and searched.

“The area that has been searched still remains the location where Corrie was most likely to have been found and would still have been searched first had all of the information that has now been obtained through the diligent and painstaking work of the investigation team been known at the start of the search.

“The disposal of waste is not a precise science and there are a number of locations where waste can be delivered into an open cell. The police have searched the most likely area and as a result of their work are able to establish the next most likely area.”

Corrie, 23, disappeared from the horseshoe area of Brentgovel Street, Bury St Edmunds, on September 24 last year after a night our with colleagues from RAF Honington. It is believed he may of climbed into a commercial recycling bin in the horseshoe to sleep.

His mobile phone moved out of Bury at the same time as a bin lorry that had visited the site.

The rubbish was deposited at a transfer site in Red Lodge on the morning he went missing, before being taken to the Milton landfill.