10 Nov, 2019 @ 18:40
2 mins read

Benidorm police slammed after emails reveal they let British grandfather Philip Pearce – missing since September – leave station at 3am in ‘confused and disoriented’ state

Screenshot 2019 11 10 At 6 40 32 Pm

BENIDORM police have been slammed after emails reveal they allowed missing British man Philip Pearce walk out of a police station into the dead of night in a clearly ‘confused and disoriented’ state.

The family of the great-grandfather are now demanding answers from Benidorm police over why he was released on September 10, at 3am, in Pearce’s last known sighting.

Missing Man Last Picture Of Philip Pearce In Alicante Airport
MISSING: Philip Pearce has been missing since mid September

The Bridgewater man was taken to the station after he presumably became lost while on holiday – he was known to exhibit signs of early-onset dementia.

But in a shocking email from the British Consulate, seen by the Olive Press this week, there are suggestions of a breach of duty of care.

The official text reveals the pensioner had clearly told Policía Nacional he ‘did not remember where he was staying’ nor even where he was from in England.

The consulate email also stated Philip was carrying neither his passport nor his wallet when he was taken by a stranger to the station in the Old Town just after midnight, as CCTV footage confirms.

Missing Man Outside Benidorm Policia Nacional At 12 45am
LAST SIGHTING: CCTV at Benidorm’s Policía Nacional station in the Old Town show Philip Pearce entering just after midnight

However, what is not clear is how and why he was allowed to leave the station three hours later.

“The police are simply not answering our questions,” son Lee Pearce, 41, told the Olive Press this week.

“It’s absolutely gut-wrenching for us as a family, not knowing where he is and why he disappeared.

“I just want him home so badly. I miss him so much.” 

Philip was known to be suffering from the early signs of dementia, but was ‘happy and smiling’ when he left for Alicante with a friend and travelling partner. 

He then left his Playa Levante hotel at 5.30pm on September 9 to buy cigarettes before he lost his bearings and was taken to police.

Two months on, Lee told the Olive Press a request for ‘a ground search and sniffer dogs’ has gone unanswered, while the family are left searching for answers.

“We just need closure on whether my dad is still alive or not,” Lee said.

“But apart from claiming to have sent out some drones to look, the police don’t seem to be doing anything at all.”

Screenshot 2019 11 10 At 6 38 23 Pm
‘NEED CLOSURE’: Philip Pearce’s family have been back and forth to Benidorm searching tirelessly for the missing 68-year-old

It comes as scores of British residents have spent weeks searching for signs of the grandfather-of-three.

Owner of Alicante Transfers, David McQueen, said he has spent ‘four to five’ hours every day scouring abandoned buildings and traveller communities around the Costa Blanca.

“I even sent my dog out with a GoPro camera to search in every bush and in every corner, but we’ve found nothing,” McQueen said.

“I’ve got 130 taxi drivers that start at 4am and finish at 2am, but none of the hotels and establishments have seen a sign of Philip.”

The family has spent weeks putting up posters and handing out flyers of his missing father around Benidorm with contact details. 

A spokeswoman for the British Consulate told the Olive Press they ‘do not comment on individual cases’ such as Philip’s.

A Policía Nacional spokesman claimed ‘helicopters’ had been scrambled to search for Philip on various Benidorm hillsides.

However, he failed to answer questions about the exact details of his release from the station or whether sniffer dogs and ground searches had been deployed or would be soon.

Joshua Parfitt

Joshua James Parfitt is the Costa Blanca correspondent for the Olive Press. He holds a gold-standard NCTJ in multimedia journalism from the award-winning News Associates in Twickenham. His work has been published in the Sunday Times, Esquire, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Sun on Sunday, the Mirror, among others. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss devastating flooding in Spain, as well as making appearances on BBC and LBC radio stations.

Contact me now: [email protected] or call +44 07960046259. Twitter: @jjparfitt

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