'I Dream There's a Knock on the Door and Our Missing Boy Has Returned'

Article excerpt


Family still waiting for lost James

GIRLS Aloud star Sarah Harding stares from the men's magazine calendar hanging on the bedroom wall.

But the page has remained unturned since October 2004 - a poignant reminder of the month golf-mad James Nutley vanished.

His dad Jeff stands in his only son's room for a few moments every morning, remembering the young man he believes will never come home to his two sets of golf clubs, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars' DVD trilogies, Playstation 2 video game console and Tigger and Eeyore cuddly toys.

But mum Catherine clings to faint hopes 24-year-old James is alive and may one day walk back into their lives.

She said: "I feel James is out there somewhere and that keeps me going.

"I sometimes dream there's a knock on the door and it's him." James, who worked for top golf brand Titleist demonstrating clubs, has not been seen since 11.58pm on October 24, 2004 - two days before Catherine's birthday - when CCTV captured him in the seaside party town of Tenby, where he was on a golfing holiday with friends.

Then James, from Caldicot, Monmouthshire, simply vanished.

His driving licence, national insurance, golf membership and video store cards were discovered on the resort's South Beach the next morning.

Catherine and Jeff believed the cards - useless to anyone but James - were placed deliberately.

Seventeen hours after the last sighting of James, the family was told he was missing.

Catherine said: "I went into a trance and Jeff was absolutely distraught. He had given up smoking but had a cigarette in his hand.

"I packed a small bag and bolted through the door, taking a photograph of James, and off we went to Tenby." Catherine, daughter Helen, now 28, and James' uncle James Harris, a Conservative councillor in Caldicot, drove to Pembrokeshire.

They checked into the Giltar Hotel, the same guesthouse where James stayed.

"I thought he would be there waiting for us," said Catherine.

"When we left we cried and cried because it felt like we were leaving James behind." Investigators probing his disappearance have found no trace of him in almost five years.

The open case was featured on BBC1's Missing Live a year ago, sparking four phone calls. But none led to James.

Speaking at their four-bedroom detached home in a Caldicot cul-de-sac, where they moved from a 22-acre farm in nearby Caerwent, bank worker Catherine, 56, revealed: "It's only thanks to the papers and TV that James' case is still known about. But we don't get our hopes up because we've done it so many times." Their pleas to take part in television appeals immediately after James vanished fell on deaf ears.

Catherine said: "If we had done it then it would have been fresh in people's minds." Now the private couple have thrust themselves into the media spotlight, agreeing to every interview request in the hope of generating new leads. …