United Kingdom

'My life stopped the day he disappeared': Father of missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague, 23

The father of Corrie McKeague said 'his life stopped' the day the airman went missing five years ago.

Thursday would have been the 28th birthday of the RAF gunner who went missing during a night out in Bury St Edmunds in the early hours of September 24, 2016.

His father, Martin McKeague, 53, hopes an inquest next March will help bring closure.

Speaking to The Mirror about the impending inquest, he said: 'My life stopped the day my son Corrie went missing. 

Thursday would have been the 28th birthday of the RAF gunner who went missing during a night out in Bury St Edmunds

Martin McKeague, the father of Corrie McKeague, and his wife Trisha, attend the opening of the inquest in November 2020

Police officers search a landfill site in search of missing RAF airman Corrie Mckeague on March 8, 2017 in Milton, near Cambridgeshire in England

'I'm still really struggling to come to terms with it.

'It's really important for us as a family - the McKeague family.

'It will all come out in the end, the truth will be coming out.

'I believe it's important the files and evidence will be read out for everybody to see.'

Corrie was reported missing two days after he disappeared by his colleagues at RAF Honington in Suffolk.

Suffolk Police believe the airman climbed into a bin which was then tipped into a waste lorry.

An independent review of the police investigation was completed by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit in 2017.

CCTV shows the RAF serviceman walking down Brentgovel Street on the night he disappeared

Suffolk Police believe the airman climbed into a bin which was then tipped into a waste lorry

A pre-inquest review hearing is due to take place later this month and a full inquest will begin on March 7 next year 

It concluded that the force completed a 'thorough' investigation and explored all reasonable lines of inquiry.

A pre-inquest review hearing is due to take place later this month and a full inquest will begin on March 7 next year.

Martin added: 'We are all focusing on what will happen at the inquest.

'My son deserves a bit of dignity, where has Corrie's voice been in all of this?

'We hope the inquest jury come to the right conclusion.

Timeline: How Corrie McKeague vanished without a trace after a night out in Suffolk 

2016 

Friday, September 23

Corrie McKeague drives into Bury St Edmunds and meets up with RAF colleagues to go drinking and socialising. He drinks so much he is asked to leave Flex nightclub and is later seen asleep in a doorway with a takeaway. 

Saturday, September 24

3.25am - CCTV footage shows him entering a horseshoe-shaped area in Brentgovel Street, behind a Superdrug and a Greggs shop, where there are several industrial waste bins.

4.19am -  A Biffa waste lorry empties the Greggs bin and the bin is recorded as weighing 116kg (18st 3lb). This is around 70kg to 80kg (12st 8lb) more than its average weight.

The rubbish is taken to a transfer station at Red Lodge. Records suggest it then went to the Milton landfill site, but police have not discounted it being taken elsewhere. 

3.42pm - Mr McKeague's colleagues at RAF Honington report him missing.

2017

Two searches of a 120-acre landfill site are held at Milton in Cambridgeshire over the course of 27 weeks. Officials sift through 9,000 tons of rubbish but find no sign of Mr McKeague. 

The first search is called off in July and the second resumes in October and lasts approximately six weeks. 

2018

March

Suffolk Police announce his disappearance has been moved to the major investigation cold case team. 

October

Suffolk Police say they believe Mr McKeague's body is at a landfill site in Cambridgeshire. 

2019

On the third anniversary of Mr McKeague's disappearance, his mother, Nicola Urquhart, says she has accepted her son is dead - but adds that she hasn't given up hope of finding his remains. 

2020

Thursday, August 27 

A murder inquiry is launched after human remains are found in two bin bags in the River Stour in Sudbury. A post-mortem examination carried out by the Home Office proved inconclusive. Mr McKeague's mother thought the remains could have been her missing son's.

Friday, September 4 

Police confirm the remains found in Sudbury were not Mr McKeague's. 

Thursday, November 5 

Chief Coroner of England and Wales confirms that he has directed that an inquest be held. 

Friday, November 11

Mr McKeague's inquest in Ipswich is opened and adjourned. Marina Ericson, Temporary Chief Superintendent of Suffolk Police, tells the hearing it is believed that Mr McKeague climbed into a bin which was emptied into a waste lorry where he subsequently died.

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