Daughter of missing man says case should be a murder investigation
'We will never give up the search - but we fear the worst'
02 January, 2018 — By William McLennan
THE daughter of a man who went missing without trace nearly five years ago says she “fears the worst”. She has called on police to upgrade their search to a murder investigation.
Stephanie Duff, whose father Robert was last seen in January 2013, said that her family believe all the evidence suggests that “he has come to harm in some way”.
They would like to see the case treated more seriously. “We don’t believe that he’s gone off on his own accord,” she said. “The police always indicate that, but they have to because they are not doing a murder investigation. I understand that, but that’s not what we believe. We Robert Duff, last seen in January 2013 do fear the worst. We need help in finding him now, or finding out what happened.”
Mr Duff, a former William Ellis School pupil who grew up in Kentish Town, has not been heard from since he accidentally left a voicemail message on his daughter’s phone on January 12, 2013. Two voices could be heard, one a woman and the other a Scottish- sounding man, but they have never made contact with the family or police. The family raised the alarm the following day when Mr Duff failed to turn up for Stephanie’s 18th birthday party.
Ms Duff said: “He was with people that night and not one person has ever come forward. Someone out there does know something, no matter how big or small.” Mr Duff, who was 37 when he went missing, lived in Ingestre Road in his youth, trained as a metal engineer and performed in Camden Town bars and clubs under the name DJ Flight. He was living in Kilburn at the time of his disappearance. Police have found no trace of him since he was captured on CCTV withdrawing cash from an ATM in Holloway Road shortly before he went missing.
A young Stephanie and Charlotte with their father Robert
Ms Duff said: “We haven’t got CCTV of him in this whole five years. There’s not a person who has said they’ve seen him. There’s no trace of him at all. “Not only that, it’s out of character for him. To not turn up to my 18th birthday meal, we knew straight away.” The family were offered a glimmer of hope last December when detectives spent two days carrying out a forensic search of a flat in Archway, but it failed to provide any answers. Ms Duff said that she and her 14-year-old sister, Charlotte, and her grandparents have been left in an agonising limbo Robert with Stephanie and Charlotte. ‘There’s no trace of him, said his daughter for half a decade, not knowing if he is alive or dead. “It’s different when someone dies,” she said. “You can grieve for them. You have to move on. But it’s the not knowing. Is he dead? Is he in danger somewhere right now? We don’t know and it’s hard to relax knowing that.”
She added: “He could’ve banged his head that night. He could have been murdered. We don’t know. I’m not saying I know what happened to him, but we do think that something bad has happened. We feel like it should be prioritised more, especially now after five years.” Ms Duff, who is expecting a baby girl in March, said that it was heartbreaking that her father would not be there for the birth of his first grandchild. “It’s horrible knowing he doesn’t even know that,” she said.
The child will be named Melanie, in tribute to Ms Duff’s best friend, Melanie McCarthy McNamara, who was shot dead aged 16 in 2012, months after moving to Dublin from Queen’s Crescent. Earlier this month police released an appeal for information about Mr Duff, stating that “officers remain concerned for his welfare”. They appealed to the public to contact Brent’s missing persons unit or charity Missing People, anonymously, on 116 000. In a message to her father, Ms Duff said: “Dad, if you are out there and you are in any kind of danger, we can help you. We will never give up.”