6 Dec, 2019 @ 19:54
1 min read

Mystery sailor disappearance still unsolved as search of Trafalgar Cemetery ends with no conclusive evidence

Cemetery Pic 2

Combined UK and Gibraltar police teams have stopped their search of Trafalgar Cemetery where it was thought that the remains of Simon Parkes could have been hidden.

The examination by forensic teams from the Hampshire Constabulary and the Royal Gibraltar Police was started after a tip-off from the public.

Tombs and graveyard ground were dug up methodically at the cemetery where the Trafalgar wounded were buried over 200 years ago, even despite the poor weather last week

FORENSIC: Experts at the historic cemetery

According to the RGP, ‘some bone material has been found but it will need further forensic analysis’ to find out if it is human.

DCI Brian Finlayson has revealed that despite no clear evidence being found, the investigation has created ‘new lines of inquiry both in UK and Gibraltar’.

“We have been supporting our colleagues from Hampshire Constabulary in this cold case investigation related to the suspected murder of a young Royal Navy rating in Gibraltar back in 1986,” said

“The investigation remains very much open and we will not desist in our efforts to bring closure to this tragic case, for Simon’s parents and family, and to see that whoever is responsible for his death is brought to justice.”

Simon Parkes Navy
VICTIM: Simon Parkes is believed to have been murdered

Simon Parkes, 18, came ashore in Gibraltar from the HMS Illustrious on December 12, 1986 but was never seen again.


Detective Inspector Roger Wood, who headed up the team, said: “We knew that there was a chance we wouldn’t find Simon, but we owed it to his family and his crew mates to try.

“The information that led us to Trafalgar Cemetery is credible and as with any cold case, we will take action if new, viable lines of enquiry present themselves.

“While the searches were not successful in the way we had hoped, we have found some bone material which may or may not be human.

“Further tests are needed to determine what they are and while this is a positive discovery, we are cautious not to put too much significance on it at this time.

“The investigation is far from over and we will be following-up these promising leads both in the UK and Gibraltar.”

Wood has thanked the public for their response which had led to the case being re-opened on the Rock and asked if anyone could remember anything else that could help.

Simon’s parents, Margaret and David, have been updated regarding the searches this week.

Margaret And David Parkes
PARENTS: Anxious to find out what happened to their son

They said: “We would like to thank everyone involved for their support and the opportunity to again search for Simon.
“It is a very difficult time but we are optimistic that the search is not over and we will never give up hope of finding him.”

Anyone with information about the disappearance of Simon can call the RGP on 200 72500, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 from the UK.

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