Family heartache: Search for missing Sunderland grandad continues two months on

LAST MOMENTS: A map detailing where Robert Hutchinson was last seen.

LAST MOMENTS: A map detailing where Robert Hutchinson was last seen.

THE daughter of missing grandad Robert Hutchinson today said she was struggling to cope two months into his disappearance as police continue to draw blanks in the search for him.

Although Paula Hutchinson, 30, takes comfort in the help she is getting from Victim Support, she said each day gets a little bit harder.

Fifty-seven-year-old Mr Hutchinson vanished on Monday, June 23, after leaving his home in Corporation Road, Hendon, in his blue Nissan Micra at 6.20pm. His disappearance is being treated as murder by detectives.

The car was left in Stewart Street, Eden Vale, between 10pm that night and 6am the following day. It was found on July 13 after police were contacted by a member of the public.

“Nothing has changed really,” Paula told the Echo. “We’re just wanting to know. It’s getting worse as the days go by. It’s really hard. We just have no clue at all, and I don’t think the police do either.”

Paula, who has a brother Gavin, 34, and an eight-year-old son called Josh, said as there is no trace of her father, she cannot even go out searching for him.

“I wouldn’t know where to start,” she said. “I’ve asked his friends if they’ve seen him, but nobody has. He just seems to have disappeared. We just want to know what happened.

“I don’t feel like coming out of the house, people asking you questions: ‘Is there any news?’ ‘How are you feeling?’

“How do they think? My dad is missing. I’m seeing a couple of Victim Support ladies and that’s helping.”

Detective Chief Inspector Christina Barrett, who is leading the investigation, said: “We still need people to come forward with information. It doesn’t matter if the information may seem minor and insignificant, this is an active murder investigation and it is vital people come forward and speak to us.

“We need to know how Robert’s car got to be in Stewart Street and would ask local residents to think back and remember whether or not they saw it. Did Robert drive the car there himself or was it someone else? If Robert drove it, where did he go afterwards? If it was someone else, who were they?

“Robert was well known in Sunderland, and people were used to seeing him around. Someone will have seen him. Someone will know what has happened to him. We urgently need these people to come forward.”

As part of the investigation, detectives have trawled through hours of CCTV, spoken to numerous people, handed out leaflets and made a number of appeals to the public and local community. Searches have been carried out at premises across Sunderland.

DCI Barrett added: “Robert has a partner, daughter, son and grandson and is part of a large family who are all absolutely devastated. They need answers and need to know what has happened to him.

“Information from the community is crucial to our inquiries. I would ask those with information who are not passing this on to us to think how they would feel if it was their family member and loved one. We need these people to come forward.”

Crimestoppers is offering a £3,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible.

Anyone with information is asked to ring Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 410 of 260614 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.




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