Alternative theories on Corrie McKeague disappearance in new document

An inquest into the RAF gunner’s death is due to be heard in March 2022.

Alternative theories on Corrie McKeague disappearance in new document PA Media

Police have prepared a 30-page document of alternative theories about the disappearance of RAF gunner Corrie McKeague, a pre-inquest review hearing was told.

Mr McKeague, of Dunfermline, Fife, was 23 when he vanished in the early hours of September 24, 2016 after a night out in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Suffolk Police believe the airman climbed into a bin which was then tipped into a waste lorry, with the force ruling out other theories.

Peter Taheri, counsel to the inquest, told a hearing in Ipswich that Chief Superintendent Marina Ericson of Suffolk Police had prepared a “statement on alternative hypotheses”.

The witness statement, which he described as “30 pages or so” in length, was put together to show what police had considered.

Mr Taheri said he was awaiting confirmation from the force that this statement was “ready for onward disclosure” with those involved in the inquest.

Mr McKeague was reported missing at 3.42pm on September 26 by colleagues at RAF Honington and no trace of him has been found.

An independent review of the police investigation was completed by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit in 2017.

It concluded that the force completed a “thorough” investigation and explored all reasonable lines of inquiry.

A full inquest, listed for a four-week period from March 7, will consider topics including the collection of the bin, the police search and results of the investigation.

It will also examine “any risk-taking behaviour” by Mr McKeague, his recent mental state and consumption of alcohol, Mr Taheri said.

Nigel Parsley, senior coroner for Suffolk, said that the disciplinary records of bin lorry driver Martyn Thompson will be shared with counsel to consider whether they “show a propensity for diligence or not”.

Hayley Saunders, for Mr Thompson, said that Mr Thompson’s evidence is that he checked the bin.

Mr Taheri said he did not believe he “spotted anything directly relevant” in Mr Thompson’s disciplinary records but that they “could show a degree of carelessness”.

Mr Parsley said the disciplinary records will be shared with counsel and he would hear any further submissions on their possible inclusion in the inquest at a later date.

Thursday’s hearing in Ipswich was attended in person by Mr McKeague’s father Martin McKeague, and his wife Trisha.

A further pre-inquest review hearing is to be heard on a date to be fixed.