Gravesend man questioned on suspicion of murder over teen disappearance

PUBLISHED: 11:45 11 May 2011

Damien Nettles, 16, went missing on the Isle of Wight in 1996. The second photograph is a prediction of how he may look as an adult

Damien Nettles, 16, went missing on the Isle of Wight in 1996. The second photograph is a prediction of how he may look as an adult


A Gravesend man has been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the disappearance of a teenager almost 15 years ago on the Isle of Wight.

The 39-year-old was one of five men being questioned by Hampshire police on Tuesday over the mysterious disappearance of 16-year-old Damien Nettles in West Cowes, on the south coast island.

Damien, of Woodvale Road, Gurnard, lived with his parents, who have now moved to the USA, when he went missing on Saturday, November 2, 1996 after a night out with friends.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Dave Powell said: “Police remain determined to find and pursue new leads in this unsolved missing person case.

“A dedicated team of officers from Hampshire Constabulary’s Major Crime Department have been working on information secured during enquiries over the past year.

“Although we have sufficient information to make arrests over an allegation of murder in 1996, detectives will keep an open mind about exactly what happened to Damien because a wide range of information has been received over the past 14 years.

“The body of Damien Nettles has not been located or identified at this time.”

The other men arrested are all from the island, and include a 44-year-old man from Cowes, a 48-year-old man from Sandown, a 37-year-old man from Ryde and a 50-year-old man from Newport.

Since the disappearance 214 witness statements have been taken, and 790 people have been involved in the investigation.

DCI Powell added: “The Nettles family has displayed tremendous tenacity and courage in campaigning consistently to encourage witnesses and assistance from the community. There has been an intermittent flow of information since 1996 with people coming forward years after Damien’s disappearance. This suggested there was always the possibility that members of the public had extra knowledge, which could take the investigation forward.”

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