Signs of blood have been found on part of a sandal and on soil inside a toy car recovered by police searching for missing Sheffield toddler Ben Needham. Ben was 21 months old when he disappeared on the Greek island of Kos on 24. July 1991, to the day, twenty six years ago.
South Yorkshire Police said forensic work was being carried out in Aberdeen to try to extract DNA from the items.
Det Insp Jon Cousins said it was still his “professional belief” Ben died in an accident at the farmhouse. “Based on the facts and the information obtained, as previously stated it is still my professional belief that Ben died as a result of a tragic incident at the farmhouse involving heavy machinery.”
Ben Needham went missing while playing near a farmhouse, which was being renovated by his grandfather.
An extensive 21-day search of land around the building and a second site 750m (820 yards) away took place in October after it emerged the toddler may have been crushed to death by a digger working on the site.
UK media write that British police believe Ben Needham was crushed to death by digger driver Konstantinos ‘Dino’ Barkasin in a tragic accident close to the farmhouse where he was last seen in 1991 and where the sandal was found in 2012.
Professor Lorna Dawson, head of the soil forensics group, said the team of scientists had discovered the “profile indicative of human blood decomposition on a fragment of a sandal.”
The profile had also been found on soil from inside a toy car, however, the stronger signal had been found on the footwear sandal, she said.
Professor Dawson said the discovery was the “chemical finger print” of compounds left behind “when there has been decomposition or decay”.
“There’s a strong indication from this chemical profile that this was present on those items as a result of blood decomposition,” she said adding “It’s significant in identifying that there had been a human who had bled in contact with those items.
The Needham family has been informed and the force would continue to assist the Greek authorities with any ongoing enquiries, South Yorkshire Police said.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Ben’s mother Kerry said the development was evidence of a “massive cover-up” and that her son’s body was moved after his death.
“It shows more of a conspiracy because they didn’t find Ben’s body,” Kerry Needham said.
“That proves it to me without doubt they obviously moved him and buried him and, for whatever reason, dug him up. There’s no other explanation,” she said.