Heartbroken mum’s CCTV plea for clifftops after son’s body is pulled from North Sea

Heartbroken Catherine Leach
Heartbroken Catherine Leach

A heartbroken mum whose seafront search for her missing son ended in tragedy wants to see CCTV installed along cliff tops.

An eight-week hunt for Daniel Smith came to a devastating end after a body pulled from the North Sea on Friday afternoon was identified as the 25-year-old.

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith

Daniel was last seen on Friday, March 20, when he had been drinking with a friend in Yates bar, in Holmeside, Sunderland, before returning to his home in Villette Path, Hendon.

At 6.40pm he bought cigarettes at a local shop and his girlfriend received a picture text from him, taken near the Little Italy restaurant, on Seaburn seafront, at 8pm.

It’s not known if Daniel was at Seaburn at the time, but he did make one final call to his girlfriend at 8.40pm that night. She did not answer and he left no message.

His body was discovered at 1.20pm on Friday by a fishing boat crew, two miles south east of Sunderland harbour.

When police phoned, I knew it was him.

Catherine Leach

Mum Catherine Leach carried out extensive coastal searches in the Whitburn and Marsden areas over the last eight weeks after reported sightings of former Whitburn Comprehensive School pupil Daniel.

Now she wants to see CCTV cameras placed along the cliff tops to help with searches for those who go missing.

She said: “I just knew from the moment I phoned the police to report him missing, in my heart, I knew he was dead.

“When the police phoned, I just knew it was him. I’m just glad we’ve been able to find him so I can finally put my son to rest – I miss him so much.”

“The worst thing, as a mother, is knowing your son is out there and you have no idea what has happened to him. For eight weeks he was out there on his own.

“We don’t know what happened, Where he was walking there was no barriers, he might have fallen and hit his head – we just don’t know.

“If there were CCTV cameras along there we would have a better chance at knowing what happened.

“Even if I have to fund it myself, I want to see cameras up there.”