Waitress insists ‘I didn’t take Ben Needham’ after claims she kept missing boy

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A waitress at the centre of investigations into the disappearance of British toddler Ben Needham insists she "didn't take" him.

It comes after Greek police started investigating claims the 21 month-old, who vanished from the island of Kos in 1991, was spotted in Corfu.

Since news of the claims emerged last week, five Britons have come forward to say they also saw Ben on island, 600 miles from where he was taken.

The allegations came after three Greek witnesses claimed a waitress working on one of the island's campsites found the child abandoned on a nearby beach after he was dumped by gypsies, according to the Daily Mirror.

Witnesses claimed the worker, identified only as Maria, was carrying a distressed boy who looked like Ben near the Roda campsite in northern Corfu in November 1992.

Much later, one of the witnesses claimed the young campsite worker told him instead of taking the child to police, she kept him.

However, former campsite restaurant waitress Maria, who says she was 21 at the time, denies ever finding a blonde boy and keeping him.

She said: “I have searched my memory and this did not happen. I would not have taken the initiative to take a child to the police.

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"My boss would have done that. I was very nervous and naive and under the protection of the restaurant owners.

"And how could I bring up the boy as my own? I have a 23-year-old daughter. I don’t have a son.

"You can ask anyone that knows me. It makes me feel sad for the mum and her loss but this is not right. This never happened."

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Ben’s mum Kerry Needham, 49, from Sheffield, South Yorks, has been struggling to cope with the 30th anniversary of her son’s disappearance.

Two couples, including a woman who works for major crimes in a UK police force, said they saw the toddler 25 minutes away from the campsite in 1992.

They reported their sightings to police years ago but came forward again after hearing of the new claims.

Kerry, who ­earlier contacted Maria through Instagram, said: "She told us she was 16 or 17 at the time. Now she’s 21?

"I’m concerned about her memory. I’m hoping police are going to take it seriously. I find all the sightings unbelievable after all these years.

"That’s five more people coming forward and they reported it to police but nothing was done. I’d like to thank them and urge anyone with any similar information to come forward."

  • Ben Needham
  • Crime
  • Missing Person

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