skip_previous play_arrow skip_next
00:00 00:00
  • cover play_arrow

    KL1 Radio Local Radio for West Norfolk

Local News

Grand-daughter of missing man grateful to police but says ‘questions need to be asked’ after probe launch

todayJanuary 12, 2022

share close

Norfolk police have launched a probe to see if “lessons could be learned” after missing Salvation Army officer John Boyd was found in London last week.

Mr Boyd,of Downham, who is 77 and described as vulnerable was missing for four days.

Mr Boyd captured the hearts of townsfolk who spent day and night searching the area in sub-zero temperatures.

John Boyd (54151006)
John Boyd (54151006)

On Saturday, it was announced by his grand-daughter Ruth Walford that Mr Boyd had been found safe and well in a London hospital after being picked up by British transport police.

Police say that Mr Boyd wasn’t seen boarding any trains when conducting a CCTV search at Downham station.

Chief Superintendent David Buckley, Norfolk’s County Policing Commander, said: “I want to start by saying how pleased we are that John has now been reunited safely with his family at, what must have been, a hugely distressing time for them all.

Posters of John Boyd have been put up all over the town (54147060)
Posters of John Boyd have been put up all over the town (54147060)

“I can also confirm that we carried out extensive searches last week as well as local enquiries with partners which involved reviewing all available CCTV and checking with local hospitals.

“This encompassed the CCTV provision, controlled by British Transport Police at Downham train station, and John wasn’t seen on any CCTV at the station or boarding any trains.

“However, our ongoing work and subsequent television appeal, revealed that John had, in fact, travelled to King’s Cross train station, where he was found by officers from the local force and taken to hospital where he remained safe, being cared for by hospital staff.

A search party organised by Downham residents met at the town square last night (54113040)
A search party organised by Downham residents met at the town square last night (54113040)

“Due to John’s vulnerabilities, no-one in London, a city of nearly nine million people, knew who he was until seeing the television appeal by Chief Inspector Rob Button.

“This resulted in Norfolk Police being contacted and our enquiries moved to London where we were able to confirm it was John.

“While anyone reported missing can travel , if determined, great distances, policing experience tells us that the vast majority of people remain local and our searches will always be informed by proximity of where the person went missing, lifestyle consideration such as habits and evidence such as sightings.

“We work with the information we have at that time and even though he was circulated as missing on national police systems, all of the evidence and circumstances suggested John would be in the Downham area.

“Clearly, the most important thing is that John is safe and well.

“As a matter of course, we will be speaking with partner agencies in London to see if there are any lessons to learn to make sure there were no missed opportunities which could have led to John being identified as found sooner.

“I wish to take this further opportunity to thank local communities again for the support we received from volunteers and the public in general as we searched for John.”

Downham’s residents were relieved to hear Mr Boyd had been found safe and well, with many praising the “fantastic” efforts of the community.

Miss Walford has acknowledged that “questions would need to be asked” about her grandfather’s case, yet praised Norfolk police for their tireless search and use of resources.

She told the Lynn News: “”We are incredibly impressed by Norfolk police who were both professional and empathetic at all times and really threw all of the resources they had into it.

“Unfortunately they had been assured by transport police that grandad was not on the CCTV so mostly discounted that line of enquiry.

“Obviously there are questions to be asked about what happened in London for such an obviously vulnerable man to remain unidentified for so long.

“We have not been made aware of what efforts the Met police made to identify him but are hugely grateful to UCL hospital staff.

“They took such good care of him and he was eventually recognised.”

Miss Walford took her time to thank the people of Downham, who also praised police for their work.

She said:”We are incredibly grateful to the people of Downham and further afield for rallying together to find Grandad.

“It’s hard to find the words to express how thankful we are.

“The weather was so poor and cold, so for people to go out day after day, without tiring or giving up hope, is brave.

“I have never seen such community spirit, my grandparents are incredibly fortunate to have the residents of Downham as their neighbours.

“There were constant updates and initiatives to increase the search and local businesses donated food and drink to those searching.

“I would also like to send out a special thanks to Lowland Rescue and the Hunstanton Coastguard who also assisted in the search.”

Mr Boyd has been seen in town since his return home, enjoying some time in Greggs near the Market Square.

A resident called it a “miracle” he had been found safe and well.

Our West Norfolk news is brought to you by the Lynn News, local and trusted, download the Lynn News app

Written by: admin

Rate it

Previous post


Just Eat orders jumped a third in 2021

Fast food delivery giant Just Eat saw orders jump by a third in 2021 as the pandemic kept up demand for eating at home. The group said its total orders surged to 1.1 billion last year, with 274 million taken alone in the final three months, though this was lower than expected in financial markets. Just Eat revealed its sales by gross transaction value (GTV) rose to 28.2 billion […]

todayJanuary 12, 2022 2