Family Mark 18 Years Since Isle Of Wight Teenager Vanished

3 November 2014, 06:34

The family of Damien Nettles - who vanished on the Isle of Wight 18 years ago this week - say they'll never stop trying to find his body.

They think his remains might be buried in Parkhurst Forest - friends have been digging there.

16-year-old Damien from Gurnard on the island was last seen during a night out in the town of Cowes in 1996. Despite a huge murder investigation, no-one's ever been charged.

The last confirmed sighting of Damien on surviving available CCTV was in Yorkie’s fish and chip shop off Cowes High Street at 11.35pm on Saturday 2 November 1996.

Damien was also positively identified by his family from CCTV of Cowes High Street at 12.02am on Sunday 3 November 1996. This footage showed Damien walking to a bus stop and then back along the High Street eating his chips.

At the time of his disappearance, the description of Damien was:

- White
- Six foot three inches tall
- slim build
- short brown hair, shaved at the back
- brown eyes

He was last seen wearing:

- A black fleece jacket
- Dark blue jeans
- Black boots

The files on Damien Nettles remain with the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) for regular checks. These include:

- Contacting Coroner's officers about the discoveries of any unidentified bodies similar to Damien's description.
- Analysing the credibility of any new information reported to police.

No new lines of enquiry have been identified by Hampshire Constabulary over the past year. However, the case is not closed.

Previous police actions in this case include:

- 1,134 people have been involved in the investigation (either as investigators, witnesses, or people of interest) since Damien Nettles disappeared on November 2, 1996.
- 357 witness statements have been taken to date since November 2, 1996.
- 2,553 documents have been reviewed and processed.

- Between 2010 and 2012, it was necessary for the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) to concentrate on analysing and acting upon the information already passed to police by the local community.
- This analysis led police in 2011 to arrest eight people who were questioned over the course of a year, and later released with no further action.
- Officers focused on completing existing enquiries while suspects were on bail. We did not charge anyone with a criminal offence.
- Murder or foul play cannot be ruled out.

- Hampshire Constabulary offered a £20,000 reward between October 4, 2012 and April 4, 2013 for facts leading to the location of Damien Nettles.
- Police received 30 reports of information.
- Each of the 30 reports of information has been analysed and assessed in line with police procedures.
- None of the information led to new lines of enquiry. However, the case was not closed.

Hampshire Constabulary remains disappointed that Damien has not been found yet. Our files continue to be kept open to receive any new facts anyone may have about what happened to the teenager in November 1996.

Anyone with information can contact the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) at Fratton Police Station by phoning 101 or emailing operation.ridgewood@hampshire.pnn.police.uk

Mini-com users can phone 18001 101. Information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

16-year-old Damien Nettles from Gurnard on the island was last seen during a night out in the town of Cowes in 1996.

The last confirmed sighting of Damien on surviving available CCTV was in Yorkie’s fish and chip shop off Cowes High Street at 11.35pm on Saturday, November 2, 1996.


Damien was also positively identified by his family from CCTV of Cowes High Street at 12.02am on Sunday, November 3, 1996. This footage showed Damien walking to a bus stop and then back along the High Street eating his chips.


At the time of his disappearance, the description of Damien was:

? White
? Six foot three inches tall
? slim build
? short brown hair, shaved at the back
? brown eyes

He was last seen wearing:

? A black fleece jacket
? Dark blue jeans
? Black boots

The files on Damien Nettles remain with the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) for regular checks. These include:

? Contacting Coroner's officers about the discoveries of any unidentified bodies similar to Damien's description.
? Analysing the credibility of any new information reported to police.

No new lines of enquiry have been identified by Hampshire Constabulary over the past year. However, the case is not closed.

Previous police actions in this case include:

? 1,134 people have been involved in the investigation (either as investigators, witnesses, or people of interest) since Damien Nettles disappeared on November 2, 1996.
? 357 witness statements have been taken to date since November 2, 1996.
? 2,553 documents have been reviewed and processed.

? Between 2010 and 2012, it was necessary for the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) to concentrate on analysing and acting upon the information already passed to police by the local community.
? This analysis led police in 2011 to arrest eight people who were questioned over the course of a year, and later released with no further action.
? Officers focused on completing existing enquiries while suspects were on bail. We did not charge anyone with a criminal offence.
? Murder or foul play cannot be ruled out.


? Hampshire Constabulary offered a £20,000 reward between October 4, 2012 and April 4, 2013 for facts leading to the location of Damien Nettles. 
? Police received 30 reports of information.
? Each of the 30 reports of information has been analysed and assessed in line with police procedures.
? None of the information led to new lines of enquiry. However, the case was not closed.

Hampshire Constabulary remains disappointed that Damien has not been found yet. Our files continue to be kept open to receive any new facts anyone may have about what happened to the teenager in November 1996.

A key point to repeat and remember in this case is the reporting of any new facts - not fictions fuelled by the repetition of rumour.

How to contact police if you have facts about Damien’s disappearance.

Anyone with information can contact the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) at Fratton Police Station by phoning 101 or emailing operation.ridgewood@hampshire.pnn.police.uk  

Mini-com users can phone 18001 101.

Information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

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