Simon Parkes: Gibraltar search for missing Royal Navy man

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image captionSimon Parkes disappeared after spending the evening in bars in Gibraltar

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.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}A police search for the the body of a Royal Navy sailor who is thought to have been murdered in Gibraltar in 1986 is set to resume.

Naval rating Simon Parkes, 18, from Kingswood near Bristol, disappeared while on shore leave with crewmates.

Officers from Hampshire Constabulary returned to the rock last year to search Trafalgar Cemetery.

Detectives said another two-week search would take place after “new areas of interest” were identified.

The results of forensic tests on bone fragments found during the 2019 search are still being awaited.

Trafalgar Cemetery searchimage copyrightHampshire Constabulary
image captionPolice searched Trafalgar Cemetery in December 2019

Mr Parkes vanished when his ship, HMS Illustrious, docked in Gibraltar on 12 December 1986 on its return to Portsmouth from a deployment to Asia and Australasia.

He spent the evening in bars with crewmates but never rejoined the ship.

The case was reopened in 2001 after a shipmate, petty officer Allan Grimson, was convicted of two murders.

Grimson has denied involvement in Mr Parkes’ death.

David and Margaret Parkes
image captionIn 2019 Mr Parkes’ parents said they were “optimistic” about the latest police inquiries
In 2003, a police review concluded Mr Parkes was likely to have been murdered and in 2019 a search was sparked by .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link{color:#3F3F42;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{font-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{border-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;}@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em){.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{border-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;}}“credible” new information from a member of the ship’s crew.

Hampshire police said specialist teams from Royal Gibraltar Police would spend another fortnight at the site “to ensure all possibilities have been fully investigated”.

Det Insp Adam Edwards said: “The searches in December proved successful with regards to generating new lines of enquiry and these new searches are as a result of those.

“We owe it to Simon and his family to ensure we have followed every legitimate line of enquiry in a bid to give them the answers they have been waiting 30 years for.”

Det Insp John Olivera of the Royal Gibraltar Police said: “We continue to work closely with Hampshire Constabulary on the investigation in order to follow all new lines of enquiry in a bid to provide Simon’s family with some closure.”

Speaking in 2019, the sailor’s parents, Margaret and David Parkes, said they would “never give up hope of finding him”.

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