Cyprus Mail

Young man in video tape comes forward, gives DNA sample (Update)

Ben as a toddler and left how he might look now. Centre photo taken from video footage in Limassol

By Peter Stevenson

The young man reportedly believed to be Ben Needham who was abducted as a toddler on the Greek island of Kos in 1991 and was spotted in a video in April at a church in Limassol has come forward to offer a DNA sample, police said on Monday evening.

The 21-year-old Romanian man went to a Limassol police station at around 4pm and volunteered to give his DNA to authorities to clear up the matter. A DNA sample and a number of photographs were taken of the young man who lives in Limassol and has Romanian parents.

Police are gathering evidence into the possible sighting in Cyprus of Needham, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou confirmed on Monday.

Someone who matched the description of how Ben, now 23,  might look as an adult was allegedly spotted in April at a church in Limassol and videotaped. The Greek newspaper, which broke the story, said the young man was with a Roma family, which had come to Cyprus a few years ago.

Prior to the young man showing up at the police station Nicolaou said the Cypriot authorities were obtaining information from Greece.

On Sunday the newspaper Greek Reporter said the young man in question had moved to Cyprus with the  Roma family to avoid mandatory military service in Greece. A man who had identified who he thought might be Ben, took video footage and handed it to Greek authorities. They in turn asked Cyprus for assistance, according to the reports.

Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said earlier in the day that officers were searching in Polemidia, in Limassol and also in Paralimni where there are communities of Roma on the island.

There are three locations where communities of Roma live in the government controlled areas; the small village of Makounta in Paphos, Polemidia in Limassol and in Paralimni. There is a larger contingent in the north but numbers of Roma are unconfirmed. That was before the young man appeared at Limassol police station on Monday afternoon.

Kerry Needham, Ben’s mother has no plans to travel to Cyprus, the Needhams’ representative Scott Morrison told the Cyprus Mail on Monday.

“As you can imagine, we receive many leads, some of which have been similar tothe story currently taking place in Cyprus and as there is no DNA test / results available yet, there is no point in Kerry travelling there as it may not be Ben,” he said.

He added that if the DNA test proved that the young man in question was Ben, then of course she would immediately make her way to Cyprus but until then she has no plans to travel to the island.

“The media speculation on this story in some areas are almost verging on stating that it IS Ben, however, as the Needham family have been through so many leads like this over the years, they have learned to just wait and see the results of any DNA testing before getting excited,” he concluded.

The boy’s grandparents, with whom he was with at the time he was abducted at age 21 months in Kos, Christine and Eddie, lived in the north in 2006 for a year before moving to Turkey and returning to live in the UK recently.



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