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Missing Ben's mother relives trauma

Original Source: TELEGRAPH: MONDAY 28 APRIL 2008
Last Updated: 2:29PM BST 28 Apr 2008

The mother of a toddler who disappeared in Greece almost 16 years ago told yesterday how the Madeleine McCann case had revived memories of her own trauma.

Kerry Grist, whose son Ben Needham vanished from the island of Kos in 1991 and has never been found, said the girl's mother would "feel like her heart has been ripped out".

She urged Madeleine's mother, Kate, to "stay strong" through the ordeal. And she admitted it was hard to put trust in a foreign police force that "doesn't understand our ways" - though she added that the Portuguese force appeared better than the Greek.

Mrs Grist was working as a waitress at the time Ben went missing from a farmhouse her parents and brother were renovating.

Although the Greek police logged up to 200 possible sightings of Ben - who she believes is still alive after being snatched "to order" for a childless couple - he has never been found. Speaking about yesterday's appeal by the missing girl's mother, she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It was like a mirror image: the look on her face, the fear, the worry, everything. It was like seeing myself 15 years ago.

"She is going to have a lot of different emotions: she is going to be very frightened of not knowing what's happened to Madeleine, very confused.

''She will just feel like her heart has been ripped out." Asked what message she had for Mrs McCann, she said: "The only thing I can try to advise her on is to stay strong, stay in control of everything.''

She said that when Ben first went missing it "didn't enter our heads at all" that he might have been abducted.


"You live every day just thinking someone is going to walk back through the door with him,'' she added.


"In my heart I feel if I thought for one minute that Ben was no longer alive I would have given up by now and I can't - there's something that drives me on to keep looking, keep looking and keep fighting for him."


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