‘I’ll never give up’ – mum launches fresh appeal to find missing son

Catherine Leach is to start a search campaign with help from family and friends for her missing son Daniel Smith along the coast and fields. Friend Lynn Harley (R)
Catherine Leach is to start a search campaign with help from family and friends for her missing son Daniel Smith along the coast and fields. Friend Lynn Harley (R)

A DESPERATE mother has pledged never to give up a search for her missing son on the day she and a loyal band of supporters launched a fresh hunt for him.

Catherine Leach and her supporters were scouring the seafront at Marsden, South Shields, today in a bid to find any evidence which might help find out what happened to 25-year-old Danny Smith.

The former Whitburn Comprehensive School pupil has not been seen since Friday, March 20, when his mother says he appears to have simply “vanished off the face of the earth”.

Catherine, of Livingstone Place, South Shields, refuses to accept that her son’s fate may never be known.

Now she has stepped up her efforts to solve his disappearance.

She posted messages on Facebook inviting his family and friends to help out with the search today at the bottom of a bank in Marsden Avenue – the last place Danny is thought to have been seen.

Catherine has also set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for her search operation – with £240 raised in the first hour.

It’s money she plans to use to pay for a boat search of the coast – or even to pay for divers to search the seas.

She said: “I’ll do whatever it takes and I’ll never give up. At first, I didn’t want to start the fundraising because I didn’t want it to look like begging, but it’s absolutely necessary if we want to keep the search going.

“We are looking for any evidence that could lead us to Danny, no matter how small.

“The mobile he was using that day has never been found. Where is that?

“Did he fall and bang his head? Did he fall over the cliffs? What happened?”

She added: “It’s the not knowing which is impossible to accept. This is a needle in a haystack situation, but what else can we do?”

Catherine was being joined in her search today by partner Mickey Brampton, her mother, Sylvia Pescod, and Danny’s sister, Kirsty Smith, among others.

On the day he disappeared, Danny had been drinking at the Yates’s bar in Sunderland with a friend before returning to his home in Villette Path, Hendon, Sunderland.

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.

He did make one final unanswered call to his girlfriend at 8.40pm that night, with the last ping recorded on his mobile phone placing him in the Marsden area around the same time.

Catherine has appealed for two cyclists who stopped to allow someone thought to be Danny pass along a single track at the top of cliffs, known locally as ‘Jackie’s Beach’, to come forward, but no one has.

Chief Inspector Jerry Pearson of Northumbria Police said: “It has been more than a month since Daniel was last seen and his family are desperate to hear from him.

“We continue to liaise with Daniel’s family and they are supporting the police in further searches which have been arranged for this week.”

Anyone with information about where Danny might be is asked to call police on 101 ext 69191, quoting reference 1113 21/03/15.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul