Sarah Wellgreen’s ex-partner’s father says son ‘has done nothing wrong’

Sarah Wellgreen (pictured) is feared murdered after she vanished from her home in Kent

Sarah Wellgreen (pictured) is feared murdered after she vanished from her home in Kent

Sarah Wellgreen (pictured) is feared murdered after she vanished from her home in Kent

The distraught son of missing mother of five Sarah Wellgreen said today: ‘Bring my mum home.’

The 46-year-old was last seen in the Bazes Shaw area of New Ash Green, Kent, where she lives, on October 9 and she has not been in contact her family since.

Her son Lewis Burdett, 22, made a fresh appeal on a Facebook group which is posting updates on searches taking place around New Ash Green in Kent.

Sharon Brine, who is helping to co-ordinate those searches revealed that police had this morning requested villagers to specifically look for Sarah’s missing phone.

Ms Brine said: ‘At the moment Sarah’s older children are looking after her young kids but they’re all absolutely heartbroken.

‘Lewis updated is being kept updated with how we are getting on with the searches via Facebook and he left a message saying ‘bring my mum home’.

‘That’s what we are aiming for, to find Sarah and give the kids closure but it’s looking more and more likely that it’s not going to be good news.’

Forensic teams have been pictured in Dartford Town centre as part of the search for Ms Wellgreen

Forensic teams have been pictured in Dartford Town centre as part of the search for Ms Wellgreen

Forensic teams have been pictured in Dartford Town centre as part of the search for Ms Wellgreen

Officers were seen scouring areas around underpasses and stairwells in Dartford, pictured, for any clues

Officers were seen scouring areas around underpasses and stairwells in Dartford, pictured, for any clues

Officers were seen scouring areas around underpasses and stairwells in Dartford, pictured, for any clues

Ben Lacomba, who has three children with the missing mother, was arrested over her disappearance and held for three days by police, who now believe that she may have been murdered.

The beautician was last seen on October 9 and her boyfriend Neil James told MailOnline that he told her that she was going to bed early in a 15-minute phone call on the night she vanished.

Officers are now investigating why CCTV fixed to the front of her house appeared to be off on the night of her disappearance.

It comes as forensic teams have been out in force in Dartford, Kent, today looking for clues and searching trees, shrubs, underpasses and stairwells for anything that might help track down her whereabouts.

Meanwhile the distraught son of Ms Wellgreen said today: ‘Bring my mother home.’

She had been living with Mr Lacomba, a taxi driver, as the pair brought up their children, although the couple were no longer a couple.

Sarah Wellgreen with boyfriend Neil James, who she texted the night before she went missing

Sarah Wellgreen with boyfriend Neil James, who she texted the night before she went missing

Sarah Wellgreen moved back with ex-partner Ben Lacomba (pictured with a Nerf toy gun) in recent months, neighbours said

Sarah Wellgreen moved back with ex-partner Ben Lacomba (pictured with a Nerf toy gun) in recent months, neighbours said

Ms Wellgreen (left, with boyfriend Neil James) moved back with ex-partner Ben Lacomba (pictured, right, with a Nerf toy gun) in recent months, neighbours said, as Mr Lacomba’s father says his son had nothing to do with her disappearance

Officers are probing why CCTV cameras fixed to her home, pictured, appeared to be off on the night she disappeared

Officers are probing why CCTV cameras fixed to her home, pictured, appeared to be off on the night she disappeared

Officers are probing why CCTV cameras fixed to her home, pictured, appeared to be off on the night she disappeared

Mr Lacomba’s father Juan today said son Ben had done nothing wrong after being released on bail until next month by officers investigating the whereabouts of Ms Wellgreen.

Kent Police announced yesterday they had scaled up their investigation into a possible murder hunt as Sarah has not been seen or heard from in over two weeks.

Mr Lacomba, who lives near the house his son shared with his ex-love in New Ash Green, said: ‘My son hasn’t done anything wrong.

‘We don’t know where Sarah is but the effect it’s had on their children… it’s been very hard for them.

‘My wife too has been bed ridden because of the stress of all this and it’s not too good for my health because I had a heart attack in 2010.  I spoke with Ben a few days ago, I keep in contact as much as I can.’

Officers have been probing the house, pictured, for clues as to where she may have gone

Officers have been probing the house, pictured, for clues as to where she may have gone

Officers have been probing the house, pictured, for clues as to where she may have gone

Friends said Ms Wellgreen (right) lived with her former partner Mr Lacomba (left), but the pair were not in a relationship

Friends said Ms Wellgreen (right) lived with her former partner Mr Lacomba (left), but the pair were not in a relationship

Friends said Ms Wellgreen (right) lived with her former partner Mr Lacomba (left), but the pair were not in a relationship

Mr Lacomba said his wife Marilyn used to live with Ben and Sarah to help them bring up their three children; two six-year-old twins, a boy and a girl and a 12-year-old son.

Sarah had moved back in to the house in the summer after three years away. Marilyn left because she did not see eye to eye with Sarah with Mr Lacomba adding: ‘She thought she had a destabilising effect on the children because she kept on moving around. Plus there were other men.’

The twins are said to have lived with their mother in Hampshire while the 12-year-old boy remained with his father.

Older son Lewis Burdett, 22, made an appeal on a Facebook group which is posting updates on searches taking place around New Ash Green in Kent.

Sharon Brine, who is helping to co-ordinate those searches revealed that police had this morning requested villagers to specifically look for Sarah’s missing phone.

The black iPhone 4 Is the only item officers are aware that Sarah had with her when she disappeared on October 9.

Police forensic teams have also been rummaging through plants and trees in street furniture for signs of Ms Wellgreen

Police forensic teams have also been rummaging through plants and trees in street furniture for signs of Ms Wellgreen

Police forensic teams have also been rummaging through plants and trees in street furniture for signs of Ms Wellgreen

Two officers were pictured looking for clues as to her disappearance behind a fence in Dartford, Kent

Two officers were pictured looking for clues as to her disappearance behind a fence in Dartford, Kent

Two officers were pictured looking for clues as to her disappearance behind a fence in Dartford, Kent

Forensic officers pictured in Dartford today

Forensic officers pictured in Dartford today

Officers used garden tools to cut away at wildlife during their search

Officers used garden tools to cut away at wildlife during their search

Officers used garden tools to cut away at shrubs and wildlife as they continued the search

She has not contacted any of her relatives since then. Her car remains parked outside her house and her cash card has not been used.

Ms Brine said: ‘At the moment Sarah’s older children are looking after her young kids but they’re all absolutely heartbroken.

‘Lewis updated is being kept updated with how we are getting on with the searches via Facebook and he left a message saying ‘bring my mum home’.

‘That’s what we are aiming for, to find Sarah and give the kids closure but it’s looking more and more likely that it’s not going to be good news.’

Just after 11am this morning a team of 16 locals began a four mile sweep of countryside and woodland between New Ash Green and the police cordon near Scratchers Lane, by the M20, where officers continue their own searches.

The villagers have been backed up by members of the local traveller community who are sitting through farmland surrounding their camp.

Volunteers have been searching the area all week and have uncovered a number of items including shoes, clothing and even a discarded axe, all of which have been analysed by police but deemed of no interest to the investigation.

Kent Police, pictured during the search, are following a number of lines of inquiry in the case

Kent Police, pictured during the search, are following a number of lines of inquiry in the case

Kent Police, pictured during the search, are following a number of lines of inquiry in the case

Police tape in New Ash Green, Kent, where mother-of-five Sarah Wellgreen has gone missing 

Police tape in New Ash Green, Kent, where mother-of-five Sarah Wellgreen has gone missing 

Police tape in New Ash Green, Kent, where mother-of-five Sarah Wellgreen has gone missing

Ms Brine said: ‘This morning we were told to specifically look for Sarah’s phone, a black iPhone 4

‘We’ve been searching the area since the weekend and continue to do so until we’re stood down.

‘Lots of people have been involved, the local traveller community, 4×4 off roaders, who know their terrain well, and countryside ramblers.

‘Taxi drivers and other motorists have also now been asked to check their dash cam footage if they were driving within five miles of New Ash Green on the evening of October 9 into the morning of October 10.’

A neighbour said the family reunited three months after a relationship Sarah had with a wealthy man in Surrey turned sour.

Elizabeth Howard, 37, said that he had made Sarah and the girls leave his home and rather than have them destitute on the street, Ben let her move back in with him again.

She said: ‘He didn’t want them homeless so invited her to come and live with him once more. But they weren’t a couple, Sarah was apparently seeing other men and was using online dating forums.

‘They starting living together about years ago but Sarah moved out around 2015 the before returning in the summer.

‘Ben and Sarah lived initially with Ben’s mum, who was a live-in nanny to the kids. They had a loft extension so had enough space for them all but Ben’s mother couldn’t get on with Sarah and she ended upon moving out a few weeks ago.

‘Despite the fact their living arrangement was a bit unusual, I never heard Ben or Sarah arguing once.

‘About eight or nine years ago, Sarah had a long-running dispute with a neighbour over loud music and you could hear her shouting.

‘In fact the police were called to intervene on a few occasions. But I didn’t hear any shouting or raised voices at all. This is why her going missing is so bizarre.

‘I hope she is ok and hope that she’s ran off with another man abroad. But the police seem to think the worst.’

Sarah vanished on October 9 and has not been in contact with her family since. Her car was left at home and her bank and credit cards have not been used since she disappeared.

Yesterday morning, Detective Superintendent Paul Fotheringham from Kent Police: ‘It is entirely out of character for her to go missing and having conducted extensive enquiries and searches, this case is now being treated as a potential murder.

‘Sarah has disappeared without a trace, the only item missing from her home is her black iPhone 4.’

Forensic teams were yesterday afternoon searching land off Scratchers Lane in Fawkham – around four miles from Sarah and Ben’s home following information received from an appeal.

Sarah Wellgreen

Sarah Wellgreen

Sarah Wellgreen, 46 pictured with her boyfriend Neil James 43. She has been missing for 15 days

Sarah Wellgreen, 46 pictured with her boyfriend Neil James 43. She has been missing for 15 days

Sarah Wellgreen, 46 pictured with her boyfriend Neil James 43. She has been missing for 15 days

Two search and rescue vans and a forensics van were parked there earlier this afternoon.

The area, which is close to the M20 motorway, was also seen being combed by sniffer dog teams before the search was scaled back in the evening.

A former boyfriend of Sarah’s, Neil James, said he spoke to her the evening before she went missing, after she had texted him to say she was getting an early night.

The telephone call is one of the last contacts anybody is thought to have had with her and Mr James said he couldn’t get hold of her the following morning.

Mr James told MailOnline: ‘On the Tuesday night I spoke to Sarah on the phone at 9.24pm, the conversation went on for about 15 minutes.

‘She said she was at home and she was in bed. Every night Sarah and I would speak and every morning either she or I would say ‘morning honey’ and text and that would normally be before 8am.

‘On Wednesday morning I texted her about 7.50am ‘morning honey, how’s you?’, that sort of thing, and it didn’t deliver.

‘I didn’t think anything of it at first, I thought she just hadn’t charged her phone or whatever. It got to lunchtime and then I tried texting her again, I tried calling her, emailing her, Whatsapp, messenger.’

Panicking, Mr James then messaged Sarah’s older sons, Lewis, 22, and Jack, 21, from her previous marriage to Dave Burdett.

He also texted the eldest of Sarah’s children with her ex-partner, Ben Lacomba, who also hadn’t seen her.

Mr James later called Mr Lacomba, with whom she lived, who then reported her missing to police.

Mr James raised the alarm after Ms Wellgreen (pictured) failed to reply to his texts

Mr James raised the alarm after Ms Wellgreen (pictured) failed to reply to his texts

Mr James raised the alarm after Ms Wellgreen (pictured) failed to reply to his texts

Sarah, who is believed to have married three times, had recently been on dating websites and her son Lewis , 22, said he had given police details of all the accounts he knew of.

The manager of the beauty salon where she worked said two different men picked her up from work in as many months.

Martin Prus, manager of Puresun Health and Beauty Centre, said Neil James and another younger man had been to the salon to see the 46-year-old.

Ms Wellgreen’s first husband, Peter Symons, yesterday told The Sun she was ‘madly in love’ with a Portsmouth man and may have been living with him. The pair split in 1990 but Mr Symons says they remained friends.

‘I know that she had a new boyfriend in Portsmouth who she was madly in love with and wanted to get married to,’ he said. ‘I haven’t got a clue who he is — all I know is that she had connections in Portsmouth.’

Panicking, Mr James then messaged Miss Wellgreen’s older sons, Lewis, 22, and Jack, 21, from her previous marriage to Dave Burdett.

He also texted the eldest of Sarah’s children with Mr Lacomba, who also hadn’t seen her.

Mr James later called Mr Lacomba, with whom she lived, who then reported her missing to police.

Mr James and Ms Wellgreen had split up briefly in the summer, during which time she began internet dating, he said.

Mr James added: ‘She met a couple of guys – nothing I could do as we weren’t together but she was talking to me at that time and I think it was one of those things where it was trying to be a trophy thing.’

Asked how he would describe Ms Wellgreen, he said: ‘She was a very motherly person, absolutely wonderful.

‘She wanted the best for her children which is why she was trying to buy that house.’

Mr James spoke after detectives announced they were now treating the case as a possible murder.

Her uncle Ronald said there is a chance she has gone abroad, but cannot understand why she would not have taken her children

Her uncle Ronald said there is a chance she has gone abroad, but cannot understand why she would not have taken her children

Her uncle Ronald said there is a chance she has gone abroad, but cannot understand why she would not have taken her children

This evening, police had closed off a remote country lane leading to an area of woodland.

Forensic teams were searching land off Scratchers Lane in Fawkham – around four miles from Mr Wellgreen’s home, following information received from an appeal.

Two search and rescue vans and a forensics van were parked there earlier this afternoon. The area, which is close to the M20 motorway, was also seen being combed by sniffer dog teams before the search was scaled back this evening.

A Kent Police spokesman said this morning: ‘The disappearance of Sarah is being treated as suspicious and a potential murder.’

Ms Wellgreen was earlier reported to be living with her ex-partner, Mr Lacomba, with whom she had children.

Her car was left at her home address and there have been no new transactions on her bank or credit cards since she went missing.

Detective Superintendent Paul Fotheringham said: ‘She had just got a job. She was offered it the day before she went missing.

‘She was happy and positive about the future. Since she has gone missing she has missed one of her children’s birthday. Her disappearance is totally out of character.’

He added: ‘Sarah has disappeared without a trace, the only item missing from the home is her black iPhone 4.’

Police tonight closed of a new road in the area, a mile and a half from her home

Police tonight closed of a new road in the area, a mile and a half from her home

Police tonight closed of a new road in the area, a mile and a half from her home

Police vans are blocking the road along with three uniformed officers. Traffic is being diverted

Police vans are blocking the road along with three uniformed officers. Traffic is being diverted

Police vans are blocking the road along with three uniformed officers. Traffic is being diverted

Ms Wellgreen was in a relationship with Mr Lacomba for five years, relatives have said, but, despite living together, their relationship is said to have ended.

Her uncle Ronald, 61, said she had an apartment in Spain and could possibly have gone there.

He told The Sun: ‘I’ve got no reason to think she was killed by someone – why would she be?

‘I have no idea why she would have left – no matter what happened on that Tuesday she would have wanted to take her children with her.’

Ms Wellgreen had previously moved out of the family home, but, despite moving back in a few months ago, had not rekindled the romance, friends said.

Neighbours told The Sun that Mr Lacomba is ‘great bloke’ who ‘adores his children’.

The local resident said: ‘He’s the local taxi driver and gives lifts to people to help them out. He’s really into his Nerf gun wars, and he would play shooting games with his children.’

Mr Lacomba was previously questioned by police and released on bail pending further enquiries.

Mrs Wellgreen appeared 'happy and smiley' before she mysteriously disappeared, friends said

Mrs Wellgreen appeared 'happy and smiley' before she mysteriously disappeared, friends said

Mrs Wellgreen appeared ‘happy and smiley’ before she mysteriously disappeared, friends said

Police are scouring countryside near her home in Kent for clues over her disappearance

Mrs Wellgreen, who is believed to have married three times, had recently been on dating websites and her son Lewis Burdett, 22, said he had given police details of all the accounts he knew of.

The manager of the beauty salon where she worked said two different men picked her up from work in as many months.

Martin Prus, manager of Puresun Health and Beauty Centre, said Neil James, from Farnborough, Hants, and another younger man had been to the salon to see the 46-year-old.

Mr Prus, 43, said: ‘I remember Neil James. He came to the salon about three months ago to pick Sarah up after she finished work.

‘He introduced himself and seemed like a nice man – I remember him telling me he was taking her out to a nice restaurant after she finished work.

‘I’m not sure how long exactly they were in a relationship, but I remember they were together for a while from what she had told me.’

Mr Prus remembered how, a month later, around August time, a younger man came to the salon and dropped Ms Wellgreen at work because he needed to use her car.

‘He looked Italian or Spanish, and was probably in his thirties,’ he said. ‘Sarah asked me if the man could borrow my drill because he was doing some work to her house in Portsmouth.

‘I don’t remember his name, he was much quieter than Neil, but spoke very nicely and was polite.

‘He then returned a few hours later to take Sarah home after work. ‘I’m not entirely sure if they were officially a couple or not or if they had just started dating, but there was definitely something there between them.’

Mr Prus said he was ‘shocked’ Kent Police are treating Sarah’s disappearance as a potential murder.

‘We are all very worried and sad. She was always so loving to everyone and made sure everyone in her life was okay,’ he added.

Officer searching woodland near a village not far from Ms Wellgreen's home this morning

Officer searching woodland near a village not far from Ms Wellgreen's home this morning

Officer searching woodland near a village not far from Ms Wellgreen’s home this morning

Following Ms Wellgreen’s disappearance on October 9, her son desperately appealed for information and said her vanishing was completely out of character.

He told how she had interviewed for a job the day before and only just found out she had got it so ‘everything was great’.

Lewis raised the alarm on Facebook three days after his mother’s disappearance.

He wrote: ‘MISSING!!! My Mum, Sarah jane wellgreen hasn’t been seen or heard from since Tuesday night on the 9th of October, police have got involved now please share this as much as you can we are all worried about her and miss her.’

‘Last seen in New Ash Green, Kent, car was left at home please contact me or 101 the slightest bit of information could help so much , thank you.’

About 200 people volunteered to help police carry out searches in the area near Ms Wellgreen’s home over the weekend.

Detective Superintendent Fotheringham said: ‘We have experts with specialist technology and forensic scientists working with us to try and find Sarah.

‘Residents, businesses and landowners in the rural areas around New Ash Green are asked to check their outhouses, and areas surrounding their properties.

‘We are particularly interested to hear from anyone with fixed CCTV cameras within a five-mile radius of New Ash Green, whether this is residential or commercial CCTV, to come forward.

‘Likewise, anyone who was out on the evening of 9 October to the morning of 10 October in that five-mile area who has dashcam in their vehicle, please contact us.

‘We are also appealing to those living and working in the area bordered by the A2, M25, Meopham, Cobham, Horton Kirby and Darenth to check their sheds, outbuildings and areas of rough ground or woodland for any sign of Sarah.’

Police have cordened off an area of woodland not far from her home in north-west Kent

Police have cordened off an area of woodland not far from her home in north-west Kent

Police have cordened off an area of woodland not far from her home in north-west Kent

Earlier this week, Ms Wellgreen’s father issued an emotional appeal for his daughter to ‘just come home’, but admitted her family were losing hope she might still be alive.

Anthony Wellgreen, 67, said: ‘I just don’t understand it at all. It’s not her character to disappear like this, nothing like this has ever happened before. We are all just so worried about her.

‘Two weeks is a long time to be away so we are just really concerned. She loves her kids and I’m sure they are really upset that she’s been gone for so long.’

He said the family had heard no new information and were still waiting for an update My brothers and I haven’t heard any new information from family and there haven’t been any updates from Kent Police.

‘If I could say anything to her I would say just ‘come home, no matter what has happened just get in contact if you can. It doesn’t matter who you contact – just get in touch with someone and let them know you are okay’.’

To be continued

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