New appeal to solve murder of Sunderland man - two years after he was last seen

DISAPPEARANCE APPEAL: Robert Hutchinson.
DISAPPEARANCE APPEAL: Robert Hutchinson.

Detectives are renewing appeals to help crack the unsolved murder of a Wearside granddad - two years to the day since he was last seen.

Robert Hutchinson was last seen leaving his home in Corporation Road in the Hendon area of the city at 6.20pm on Monday, June 23, 2014.

RECOVERED CAR: Robert Hutchinson's car, which has been recovered by police.

RECOVERED CAR: Robert Hutchinson's car, which has been recovered by police.

He has not been seen since.

Mr Hutchinson left his home in his car - a blue Nissan Micra.

The car was later found abandoned at the end of Stewart Street, just off Chester Road a number of miles away.

Extensive enquiries were carried out to locate Robert which led police to believe he had come to harm and a murder investigation was launched.

We continue to investigate lines of enquires and this case will never be closed until we establish what has happened to Robert.

Detective chief inspector Lisa Theaker

Popular Mr Hutchinson’s two children Paula and Gavin, have made emotional appeals on a number of occasions for anyone who may know something about their dad’s disappearance to contact authorities, but to no avail.

Renewing appeals for information Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Theaker said: “Our condolences very much remain with Robert’s family. I

“I’m sure it has been a very difficult two years and the not having the answers only prolongs their grief.

“We need answers to what happened to him.

Police have been going over what details they have on the last known movements of missing man Robert Hutchinson. They are hoping for help from the public. Robert Hutchinson's car was found in Stewart Street, just off Chester Road.

Police have been going over what details they have on the last known movements of missing man Robert Hutchinson. They are hoping for help from the public. Robert Hutchinson's car was found in Stewart Street, just off Chester Road.

“We continue to investigate lines of enquires and this case will never be closed until we establish what has happened to Robert.

“There will be people within the community who will have information about his murder and information that can assist with our enquiry and we need them to come forward and speak to us.

“Robert’s car was found at the end of Stewart Street near to Chester Road, it had been left sometime overnight between Monday, June 23 and Tuesday, June 24.”

Speaking less than a year after their father’s disappearance, Robert Hutchinson’s children made a desperate plea for those responsible for his whereabouts to end their suffering.

Paula Hutchinson and Gavin Newton, appealing for help at Southwick Police Station to find out what has happened to their father, Robert Hutchinson.

Paula Hutchinson and Gavin Newton, appealing for help at Southwick Police Station to find out what has happened to their father, Robert Hutchinson.

At a press conference his daughter Paula, who appeared alongside her brother Gavin Newton, tearfully told the Echo: “It’s the not knowing what has happened to him which is killing the whole family.

“He’s got a lot of brothers and sisters who are heartbroken and we just need somebody to come forward and give us or the police some information.

“People don’t just go missing.”

Paula added that the disappearance had been particularly hard on her son and Robert’s grandson, Josh.

“Christmas Day was hard because he usually spends all day with my dad, playing with his new toys, but we couldn’t do anything like that,” said Paula.

“I don’t want to have to tell him his grandad is dead, but now I just wish he could be found. And I believe in my heart that somebody does know where he is.”

Renewing calls for those with information to contact police, Gavin said: “I’d say to people, ‘think if this was one of your family members and imagine what you would be going through right now.’”

There has been no sign of Robert, who often drank in Charltons in Hendon, since he left his house, at 6.20pm on Monday, June 23, in his blue Nissan Micra.

The last images of him were captured on a CCTV camera at Asda in Leechmere Road two hours before he disappeared, as he was filling his car with petrol.

His car was later found abandoned in Stewart Street, just off Chester Road in Eden Vale.

Police believe it was left there some time between 10pm on the evening of his disappearance and 6am the following morning.

It is not known whether Mr Hutchinson drove there himself, or if a third party dumped the car – registration CT03 0ZJ – in an area to which he has no known ties.

Anyone with information that can assist should contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 410 260614, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Information will be treated in the strictest of confidence and can be passed anonymously if necessary.