Captain’s sadness at coming home without Timmy

Tim MacColl
Tim MacColl
The men of HMS Hunter

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THE captain of HMS Westminster is ‘desperately disappointed’ the missing Gosport sailor Timmy MacColl has not been found.

Captain Nick Hine today expressed frustration that the 27-year-old dad-of-two remains missing 12 weeks after he vanished on a night out socialising in Dubai.

Despite a large media campaign in the Emirate, there has not been an update on the case from Dubai police for weeks.

Now Timmy’s family face the horror of seeing his ship return to Portsmouth without him on Monday.

Capt Nick Hine, pictured right, said: ‘Clearly we are all desperately disappointed that Leading Seaman MacColl remains missing and our thoughts and prayers remain with his family at this particularly difficult time.’

The ship’s company will leave a space on deck where Timmy would have been standing when Westminster sails in at 9.40am.

Timmy’s distraught relatives and friends will go to the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth to watch the sad homecoming and release yellow balloons to mark his absence.

Neil Cunningham, who is the uncle of Timmy’s pregnant wife Rachael, told The News: ‘As a group of supporters, we will be welcoming the ship home and thanking them for their support in what has been a difficult time for them and their families, just as it has been a difficult time for us.’

Mr Cunningham, who flew out to Dubai in June, said the family is struggling to find out information.

He said: ‘I keep trying to get the Dubai police to speak to me but they won’t unless I’m out there in person, which is impossible.

‘I’m just requesting information from the home secretary and speaking to the Royal Navy’s investigation branch, which is doing a sterling job in very trying circumstances.’

Timmy went missing after being put into a taxi outside the Rock Bottom Cafe nightclub on May 27.

The cab was told to go back to Port Rashid where Westminster was docked, but Timmy never arrived.

The driver has told Dubai police the sailor got out of the car when he got lost inside the port and pulled over to ask for directions.

The Royal Navy again expressed its ‘concern’ for Timmy’s safety today.

A spokesman said: ‘The matter is being treated as a missing person case. The Dubai police have primacy for the investigation into LS MacColl’s disappearance and search.

‘The MoD and Royal Navy continue to liaise with and provide assistance to the Dubai authorities. The Foreign Office also remains in contact with the Emirati police about their ongoing investigation.’