New probe to find missing Hampshire teenager’s body underway

Damien Nettles
Damien Nettles
The old radar station at Fraser Range, Eastney Picture: Shaun Roster

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A FRESH search to find the body of missing teenager Damien Nettles has been launched by Hampshire Police.

The 16-year-old Isle of Wight teenager disappeared almost 15 years ago following a night out with friends on November 2, 1996.

Earlier this morning the police authority sealed off an area of marshland next to the Newport to Cowes cycleway and footpath in the Stag Lane area of Newport.

Specialist police officers will be using a range of techniques and technology to examine the ground for human remains over the next few days.

As reported in The News earlier this week, five men have been arrested on suspicion of murdering teenager Damien, of Woodvale Road, Gurnard.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Dave Powell said: ‘We are responding to information received about the possible whereabouts of Damien Nettles’ body.

‘The area we’re now searching was identified after the police received more information about what could have happened to Damien after his disappearance in November 1996.

‘We’re not in a position to discuss the details because it is important for the police to protect how they gather sensitive information.

‘There have been false and malicious allegations about possible burial sites for Damien’s body over the past 14 years.

‘Such unfounded speculation has upset the Nettles family and wasted police time and resources.

‘Therefore, careful consideration has been given to our decision to examine this marshland.

‘It is important for the community to keep expectations for this search in perspective.

‘We cannot guarantee that anything will be found at this stage.’

Police probing Damien’s disappearance have arrested a 44-year-old man from Cowes, a 48-year-old man from Sandown, a 37-year-old man from Ryde, a 50-year-old man from Newport and a 39-year-old man from Gravesend, Kent.

All five men were arrested between on Tuesday and are being quizzed at police stations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.