A lot of information has circulated regarding Adrian’s disappearance and the investigation, both factual and false. A number of recurring themes of questioning have also appeared via traditional and social media forums and this overview is intended to publicly inform and consolidate on the current status. The States of Jersey Police (SoJP) have been open and transparent in the information they have provided to the public and recognise the benefit in providing a comprehensive update.
Adrian’s clothing and items
On the night of his disappearance, Adrian was wearing a blue River Island two piece suit, brown belt, white shirt, white t-shirt and black slip-on shoes. He was believed to be in possession of his passport for proof of age purposes, having recently lost his driving license and he would have had two keys on a single ring with no fob – one a key to a Ford Fiesta, and the other an ordinary Yale door key. He also wore a white and yellow gold signet ring encrusted with a diamond.
Adrian had spent the evening of Friday 4th December 2015 at a combined electrical contractors’ Christmas function at the Merton Hotel. He had consumed a quantity of alcohol and was intoxicated. A colleague arranged for a taxi to collect and take him home, and Adrian left by taxi at about ten minutes to midnight. It is believed that a misunderstanding over the address however led to Adrian being dropped off at the junction of La Rue and La Ruette D’Avranches (halfway between the Six Rues and Carrefour Selous junctions) with Adrian indicating he lived very close nearby. He was actually over a kilometre south of his home address.
He had his phone and wallet in his hand as he got out of the taxi, and these were located the following morning on the road surface in La Ruette just a few metres away from where he got out of the taxi. Although there was no cash in the wallet it is believed that Adrian had spent the cash he had earlier withdrawn from an ATM at the function, and used the remaining £3 to top up the amount his colleague had given the taxi driver when he collected Adrian at the hotel. Due to the positioning of the phone and the wallet, it is believed that he may have sat down for a while on the road surface placing these items down, but inadvertently leaving them behind when he moved off.
On the Monday a decision to set up a major investigation room was taken, and a command structure to support the multi-agency working established. Use of the UK HOLMES major investigation computer system for recording and tracking data and lines of enquiry was also established. Although a missing person enquiry, the investigation room, team structure and processes mirrored that used nationally for major enquiries, whether crime related or not. The investigation started with regard to all possibilities, and has remained as such.
This had been declared as a critical incident and a command structure put in place to ensure strategic and tactical requirements were recognised and responded to. A Gold / Silver / Bronze terminology is applied nationally across the emergency services to major incidents, and Detective Superintendent Stewart Gull assumed the role of the “Gold Commander” which he still retains. Detective Chief Inspector Lee Turner who had been involved since the Sunday morning was designated as the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) over-seeing Detective Inspector Steve Langford as the “Silver” for investigation and Inspector Tim Barnes as the SoJP “Silver” for the multi-agency searching.
1 km radius (2 km diameter) circular zones of higher priority were established, centring on Adrian’s last known location (taxi drop off / belt recovery area) and the furthest believed movement indicated (Thistlegrove / Bon Air stables area). Such zones were also based on input from national search advice, and a National Search Advisor from the College of Policing worked in the island for a few days with search management in December.
The support of the public was and has been significant and careful ongoing consideration was given from the outset on Sunday 6th December and throughout the active search phases to using members of the public in support of coordinated searching, working alongside agency personnel. During this critical phase of the searching, it was assessed that there were sufficient resources for the task in hand. To involve the public in this coordinated way would have placed an unnecessary burden and additional risk on the overall coordinated search. This decision was strongly endorsed by a National Search Advisor from the College of Policing in the early stages.
There are a number of water sites in the general area ranging from garden ponds to the Handois and Dannemarche reservoirs. A number of these aspects could be and were covered by trained Fire and Rescue officers and divers from TTS. Other more challenging aspects were reviewed and where applicable covered by sonar specialists from Humberside Police.
With regard to the possibility that Adrian may have been involved in a road traffic collision (RTC), additional and focused search attention was also paid to road surfaces and boundaries (extending up to 10 metres either side of the road surface) inside and out of the 1 km higher priority zones, not only for Adrian but for any debris or item that may have been discarded or flung upon any impact (which is common). Unsurprisingly, debris from what are believed to be minor historic collisions was located, but nothing of apparent relevance to Adrian’s disappearance.
Several thousand personnel hours in total were used in searching the designated areas, both before and after Christmas. There was and remains no information on which to base extending such parameters other than simply extending outwards in all directions which would not only require an exponentially growing resourcing requirement, but would also depend upon the consent of private property owners in circumstances where there would be little or no rationale to request or expect this. In short, in the absence of any more specific information, further searching is simply considered unviable.
Further searching for example in the central Carrefour Selous area was conducted in January based on a hypothesis arising from the last indication of Adrian’s presence in the Cooke’s Roses Farm area at 02:15 – 02:30.
This position has been supplemented by repeated requests for land and property owners to check their own areas outside of these zones, to use employees to assist on commercial and agricultural sites and to call the police for assistance if for example; the infirm or restricted are unable to thoroughly check property and outbuildings.
Difficult decisions such as those involving the parameters of extended searches have to be made, but as with all aspects of major investigations the practical implications are such that parameters have to be applied based on rationale, and the Senior Investigating Officer making such decisions rightly remains accountable for these.
The northern boundary areas around St John’s Village were based on earlier indications of Adrian’s direction of travel from the taxi drop off and the direction of his home address. The absence of any sightings past these areas limited the extent of these zones; however, the north coast has featured in search activity, including the Channel Islands Air Search plane, and also by the States of Jersey Fire & Rescue Service and other assets based on reports of possible relevance. Other areas have also received search attention in response to other possibly related pieces of information that were received.
An internal review of all search documentation is being carried out in order to establish the necessity for any revisits.
2. Voluntary missing person – a person who has control over their own action but has decided on a particular course of action eg wishes to leave home or self-harm;
3. Missing person under the influence of a third party – relating to someone who has gone missing against their will eg abduction or murder victim.
A range of other lines of enquiry cover issues such as forensics, family liaison, passive data opportunities including CCTV from 18 sites, vehicle damage, and importantly the media.
Over 1,000 people have been spoken with during the investigation, over 250 witness statements recorded and over 560 investigative actions generated over and above the search activity described.
1. The occupants of a silver car (possibly a VW or Citroen Saxo) parked outside David Hicks at about 23:00;
2. Two persons with a motorcycle at the junction of Le Neuf Chemin and St Lawrence main road (just north of the entrance to St John’s Manor) at about midnight;
3. A male with a dark pullover hitchhiking up Mont Felard at about half past midnight;
4. A male in a mustard coloured suit walking north past Regal at about 01:15-01:30;
5. A taxi moving south past Thistlegrove at 02:33;
6. A male with white hair hitchhiking south at about 03:00 in the Three Oaks area;
7. Two males hitchhiking north at about 03:00 in the area of Steven Cohu antiques
In addition to this, despite a number of requests and other enquiries, it cannot be confirmed that all persons either in, passing into or out of the area at the relevant time have been identified. The CCTV at Thistlegrove identifies a number of vehicles passing in both directions throughout the night but makes and models are not distinguishable – we believe most have been identified but not all.