Benidorm police ‘failings’ leave sons unable to bury father

Phil Pearce, right, Image copyright Google/Family photo
Image caption Phil Pearce disappeared in Benidorm on 10 September

The family of a man who died after going missing in Benidorm have accused Spanish police of “incompetence” after they mislaid a bone from his leg.

Phil Pearce, 68, from Bridgwater in Somerset, vanished on 10 September last year.

His body was found on 23 November but police did not tell his two sons until 7 February because of difficulties identifying him.

The force has not responded to their accusations.

His son Lee Pearce described the situation as a “living nightmare” and said they did not want to repatriate the body without the missing femur.

He said: “He should be home, laid to rest.

“He went over in one piece, he should come back in one piece. He should be laid to rest in one piece with all his bones in there.”

Image caption Lee Pearce (left) and his brother Wayne say they want to bring their father home for his burial “in one piece”

Wayne Pearce described the process as a “shambles” and said the family “could not believe” it took police more than three months to tell them their father’s body had been found.

“It seems they don’t have a clue what they are doing over there,” he added.

Their father, who was visiting the Spanish town, had mild dementia and was last seen after being taken by a member of the public to a police station in a confused state.

He later left the building and disappeared.

His sons were told the delays were because DNA needed to be checked and there was conflicting information as to the location of the missing femur.

‘Shabbily handled’

Bridgwater’s Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has raised the case with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

He said: “Everything has been, dare I say it, either slow or it’s been pretty shabbily handled by the Spanish authorities at every level.

“There are huge questions that we need to ask and have answered.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was working with the family and the Spanish authorities to bring Mr Pearce’s body home.

“Our thoughts remain with the family,” a spokesman said.

Avon and Somerset Police said it had provided a family liaison officer to support the Pearces “through this very difficult period”.

A spokeswoman said: “Once the body is repatriated to Somerset the coroner will decide whether a post-mortem will take place. Following results of that a decision will be made on whether an inquest is required. “

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