A grieving mother has appealed to police to carry out another search for her son’s missing body so that he can finally have the funeral he deserves.
Shane Smith disappeared more than eight years ago after his kayak capsized about 400 yards off the Seaham coast.
While a New Year inquest will finally examine the circumstances behind his tragic disappearance, mum Pearl Smith, of nearby Parkside, insists the family will have no closure until his remains are finally discovered.
Every December relatives visit the cliffs near North Pier, where Shane was last spotted, at least twice to lay flowers to mark both his birthday on December 7 and Christmas.
Speaking after her latest visit on Christmas Eve, Mrs Smith, 62, said: “I am not sure what the inquest can tell us that we do not already know.
“Without a body, we cannot move on and we want the police to carry out another search, as we think they gave up too soon.
“We are not saying they should do it now. But when the weather starts to get better I don’t see why they cannot go out again.”
Emergency services patrolled the surrounding coast for 48 hours after 30-year-old unemployed Shane’s disappearance on April 22, 2010, at around 7pm.
Searches resumed about a fortnight later when clothing believed to belong to him was washed up.
Yet the operations recovered only his kayak.
After consulting a psychic, Mrs Smith, who battles against a range of illnesses and struggles to walk down the path to her son’s flowers, believes he is trapped underneath North Pier.
She added: “I can sense he is there every time I visit and it’s just horrible thinking that he could be so close to us and we cannot do anything about it.”
A new search, however, appears unlikely.
A Durham Police spokesman said: “In 2010, we carried out an extensive search for Shane on both land and sea but, sadly, it proved unsuccessful and there have been no positive developments over the years.
“We continue to extend our deepest sympathies to Shane’s family.”
An inquest into Shane’s death opened in October and is due to be concluded in January at County Durham and Darlington Coroner’s Court.
Legislation allows coroners to declare a missing person dead if their remains have still to be found more than seven years after their disappearance.
Shane, who would have turned 39 in December and was from Dawdon, was also survived by partner Wendy Jobs, her daughter Chantelle Jobs, dad Guy Smith, 67, brother Philip Smith, 35, of Dawdon, and sisters Tracy Smith, 33, of Hartlepool, and Kimberley Smith, 28, of Sunderland.