Missing man: Worried mum reveals new sighting on clifftops

A STEP CLOSER: Catherine Leach knows the sighting of her son Daniel Smith on the clifftops reinforces her belief that he is dead, but she's closer to finding out what happened to him.
A STEP CLOSER: Catherine Leach knows the sighting of her son Daniel Smith on the clifftops reinforces her belief that he is dead, but she's closer to finding out what happened to him.
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A MOTHER hopes a possible new sighting of her missing son could prove vital in finally finding out what happened to him.

It’s more than five weeks since former Whitburn Comprehensive School pupil Daniel Smith, 25, “vanished from sight”.

TRAGIC NEWS ... Daniel Smith hadn't been seen since March 20, and a body in the sea has been confirmed to be him.

TRAGIC NEWS ... Daniel Smith hadn't been seen since March 20, and a body in the sea has been confirmed to be him.

Now two pieces of information appear to place him in the Marsden area on the last day he was seen - Friday, March 20.

His desperate mother, Catherine Leach, of Livingston Place, South Shields, has been approached by a witness who saw a man fitting Daniel’s description between 8.15pm and 8.45pm that night.

And she has learned that the last ping recorded on his mobile phone places him in the Marsden area around the same time.

Miss Leach has now appealed for two cyclists who stopped to allow someone thought to be Daniel pass along a single track at the top of cliffs, known locally as ‘Jackie’s Beach’, to come forward.

They saw a lone figure passing on the rocks wearing what Danny was wearing that day, a black hoodie with the hoodie up. He was the same height and build as Danny.

Catherine Leach, desperate mum

She said: “The person who came forward had lit a fire at Jackie’s Beach at about 8pm on the day Danny went missing. It was windy and the rain was spitting. They saw a lone figure passing on the rocks wearing what Danny was wearing that day, a black hoodie with the hoodie up. He was the same height and build as Danny.

“It was really dark and they just thought ‘look at that idiot on the cliff tops’. It fits the timeline perfectly of being between 8.15pm to 8.45pm. This figure was on the cliff tops, heading in the direction of Souter Lighthouse.

“At the same time two cyclists with flashing lights on their bikes let this person through on a dirt track. There could have been dog walkers around the area that might remember this figure too. We need all the help we can from eyewitnesses.”

On the day he disappeared, Daniel had been drinking at the Yates’s bar in the city with a friend 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 whether Daniel was at Seaburn at the time, but he did make one final unanswered call to his girlfriend at 8.40pm that night.

Miss Leach fears her son is dead, but cannot give up on her search until he is found.

She added: “This new information has made me feel elated but not in a good way and I know he could have fallen over the rocks. I just hope this new information brings us a step closer to knowing what happened. We won’t give up until we know the truth.”

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