'We'll never stop looking for Timmy'
As missing sailor's uncle returns home, Myra Philp pieces together the last steps of Timmy MacColl.
Missing sailor Timmy MacColl’s uncle left Dubai yesterday vowing: “I will never give up looking for Timmy.”
Neil Cunningham, 42, spent five days in the emirate retracing the last steps of his beloved 27-year-old nephew, who he described as “like my little boy”.
Timmy met Cunningham’s niece, Rachael, nearly nine years ago in Gosport in the UK and he immediately became a part of the family.
Cunningham said: “Rachael was the first child of her generation and she has always been my little girl. When she met Timmy, he became very close to the rest of the family.”
Timmy, a Leading Seaman with UK warship HMS Westminster, vanished after getting into a taxi outside a Dubai club in the early hours of May 27. Cunningham, who is a police officer, flew into Dubai and spent days visiting the spots Timmy had told Rachael he visited in a series of phone calls and emails. He also met with UK consular staff, navy liaison and Dubai Police CID officers.
Just hours before he left Dubai, Cunningham told 7DAYS: “Rachael and Timmy had talked about her and the children coming out to Dubai while he was here. But they did the sums and decided, with Rachael six months pregnant by then, not to go ahead. If they had it would have been a whole different story.”
The couple had previously spent 10 days of shore leave in Dubai, with Rachael flying out to the UAE to join him for a ‘delayed’ honeymoon.
She said: “It was great. I really loved Dubai. We did so many things there.” It was Rachael who helped piece together Timmy’s last-known movements - recalling everything he had told in phone calls. Her recollections have been given to Dubai CID, who are continuing to investigate.
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