Mother of missing RAF airman Corrie McKeague who ‘died in the back of a waste lorry’ reveals call claiming he was MUGGED and thrown in a bin
- Corrie McKeague, 23, vanished in early hours of September 24, 2016 in Suffolk
- His mother Nicola Urquart claims she was called by two people with information
- One person claimed her son was mugged and ‘put in the bin’ in Bury St Edmunds
The mother of an RAF airman who ‘died in the back of a waste lorry’ has claimed she was told her son was mugged and thrown in a bin on the night he disappeared.
Corrie McKeague, 23, vanished in the early hours of September 24, 2016 following a night out in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Police believe Mr McKeague died in the back of a dustbin lorry after climbing into a Greggs industrial bin while drunk, an inquest heard on Friday.
However, his mother Nicola Urquart, 51, has now claimed a taxi driver’s wife called her to allege her husband had beaten Mr McKeague and left him for dead after he was sick in his cab.
Speaking to the Mirror, she said: ‘The lady phoned to say her husband, a taxi driver, had picked Corrie up that night, heading towards his base, but the boy started being sick, so the taxi driver stopped, got out, tried to drag the boy out of his taxi.
‘He ended up hitting him over the head with this bat and dragged him into the woods and left him there.
‘He got his wife to clean up the sick in the back of the car. She believes it was Corrie and reported that.’
Nicola Urquart (right), the mother of Corrie McKeague (left), has claimed she was told her son was mugged and thrown in a bin on the night he disappeared
Pictured: RAF serviceman Mr McKeague walks down Brentgovel Street in Bury St Edmunds on the night he disappeared in September 2016
In a second allegation, Ms Urquart said she received a call from another person who claimed they knew somebody who ‘said he and his friend had tried to rob Corrie.’
She added the person said the mugging had ‘gone wrong and they’d put him in the bin.’
The heartbroken mother claimed she immediately passed this information on to the police, who told her she ‘wasn’t to tell anybody.’
Ms Urquart said police also discredited the claims made by the taxi driver’s wife, adding: ‘To me, that’s not a good enough, to say you’ve bottomed that out, you’ve done all you can.’
Mr McKeague was last seen alive at 3.25am on Saturday, September 24, 2016.
CCTV footage showed him entering a horseshoe-shaped area in Brentgovel Street, behind a Superdrug and a Greggs shop, where there were several industrial waste bins.
Mr McKeague’s girlfriend April Oliver (left), then 21, found out that she was pregnant with his child after he disappeared and later gave birth to his daughter Ellie-Louise
Police carried out two searches of a 120-acre landfill site at Milton, Cambridgeshire, over 27 weeks in 2017, but found no sign of Mr McKeague’s body after sifting through 9,000 tons of rubbish
The Biffa bins in Bury St Edmunds are pictured in 2017. It comes as an inquest heard missing airman Mr McKeague was killed after he climbed into a bin to seek shelter following a night out
Police were later able to trace his mobile phone signal, which showed it had travelled around 14 miles in a vehicle shortly after 4am.
No trace of him has been found since but Suffolk’s senior coroner, Nigel Parsley, said on Friday that Mr McKeague ‘died in the Suffolk jurisdiction in September 2016’.
Marina Ericson, Temporary Chief Superintendent of Suffolk Police, told the hearing it is believed that Mr McKeague climbed into a bin which was emptied into a waste lorry where he subsequently died.
She said Mr McKeague drove into Bury St Edmunds on the evening of Friday, September 23, 2016, and met up with RAF colleagues to go drinking and socialising.
‘Witnesses state that Corrie consumed so much alcohol through the evening that he became very drunk and was asked to leave Flex nightclub,’ she said.
‘Witnesses also described him as being happy and friendly throughout the evening.’
CCTV footage shows him entering a horseshoe-shaped area (pictured) in Brentgovel Street, behind a Superdrug and a Greggs shop, where there are several industrial waste bins
Pictured: The girlfriend of missing Mr McKeague with their daughter Ellie-Louise Oliver
Mr McKeague was last seen near a bin loading area in Bury St Edmunds in 2016. Police searched a landfill site near Cambridge for his body in March the following year
The inquest opening marks the end stages of an extraordinary tale which saw police launch a full-scale murder investigation with officers wading through two rubbish dumps in an operation that cost more than £2million.
Now, four years after Mr McKeague disappeared, suspicions that he died after falling asleep in a wheelie bin look set to be confirmed.
Ms Ericson said a Biffa waste lorry emptied the Greggs bin at 4.19am, and the bin was recorded as weighing 116kg (18st 3lb).
‘This was around 70kg to 80kg (12st 8lb) more than its average weight,’ she said.
‘Corrie’s mobile phone, having connected to the internet, provided a signal from this point which mapped the movements of the waste lorry to the Barton Mills roundabout.
‘At that point, the mobile service provider lost the signal.’
Mr McKeague was reported missing at 3.42pm on Monday September 26 by colleagues at RAF Honington.
TIMELINE: How Corrie McKeague vanished without a trace after a night out in Suffolk
Friday, September 23
Corrie McKeague drives into Bury St Edmunds and meets up with RAF colleagues to go drinking and socialising. He drinks so much he is asked to leave Flex nightclub and is later seen asleep in a doorway with a takeaway.
Saturday, September 24
3.25am – CCTV footage shows him entering a horseshoe-shaped area in Brentgovel Street, behind a Superdrug and a Greggs shop, where there are several industrial waste bins.
4.19am – A Biffa waste lorry empties the Greggs bin and the bin is recorded as weighing 116kg (18st 3lb). This is around 70kg to 80kg (12st 8lb) more than its average weight.
The rubbish is taken to a transfer station at Red Lodge. Records suggest it then went to the Milton landfill site, but police have not discounted it being taken elsewhere.
3.42pm – Mr McKeague’s colleagues at RAF Honington report him missing.
Two searches of a 120-acre landfill site are held at Milton in Cambridgeshire over the course of 27 weeks. Officials sift through 9,000 tons of rubbish but find no sign of Mr McKeague.
The first search is called off in July and the second resumes in October and lasts approximately six weeks.
Suffolk Police announce his disappearance has been moved to the major investigation cold case team.
Suffolk Police say they believe Mr McKeague’s body is at a landfill site in Cambridgeshire.
On the third anniversary of Mr McKeague’s disappearance, his mother, Nicola Urquhart, says she has accepted her son is dead – but adds that she hasn’t given up hope of finding his remains.
Thursday, August 27
A murder inquiry is launched after human remains are found in two bin bags in the River Stour in Sudbury. A post-mortem examination carried out by the Home Office proved inconclusive. Mr McKeague’s mother thought the remains could have been her missing son’s.
Friday, September 4
Police confirm the remains found in Sudbury were not Mr McKeague’s.
Thursday, November 5
Chief Coroner of England and Wales confirms that he has directed that an inquest be held.
Friday, November 11
Mr McKeague’s inquest in Ipswich is opened and adjourned. Marina Ericson, Temporary Chief Superintendent of Suffolk Police, tells the hearing it is believed that Mr McKeague climbed into a bin which was emptied into a waste lorry where he subsequently died.
Ms Ericson went on: ‘Despite an extensive police-led investigation and search, there has been no proof of life since the last sighting of Corrie at 3.25am on Saturday September 24 2016.
‘It is believed that Corrie, having climbed into the Greggs waste bin located in the area of the horseshoe in Brentgovel Street, was in the bin when it was emptied into the Biffa waste lorry and this is where he subsequently died.’
The coroner said: ‘On the basis of the evidence I’ve heard I will open an inquest into Corrie’s tragic death.’
A pre-inquest review hearing will take place on February 5.
At this hearing, consideration will be given to witnesses and the length and date of the full inquest hearing.
Mr McKeague’s mother listened to proceedings remotely, while his father, Martin McKeague, and his wife, Trisha, attended the hearing in person after driving down from their home in Scotland.
Ms Urquhart previously said she had asked for an inquest for her son and was ‘extremely hopeful that this will give us answers’.
Mr McKeague said after the hearing that he believed his son had died after going into the bin lorry, and dismissed the numerous theories surrounding his disappearance.
He said: ‘I want to put the truth out to the public. There is no mystery. The evidence that we have been presented with by the police is what happened to him. I want everyone to get to know the truth.’
Mr McKeague added that he and the police had wanted the full inquest to have been held in 2018.
Police carried out two searches of a 120 acre landfill site at Milton, Cambridgeshire, over 27 weeks in 2017, but found no sign of Mr McKeague’s body after sifting through 9,000 tons of rubbish.
Suffolk senior coroner Nigel Parsley described the death of Mr McKeague as ‘tragic’.
He added: ‘I would like to pass my sincere condolences to Corrie’s parents Nicola and Martin and the rest of his family and friends who lost him in such tragic circumstances.’
Mr McKeague was last seen asleep in a shop doorway on the night he disappeared after picking up a takeaway.
CCTV later showed him walking towards the area containing the Greggs bin.
Police quickly realised that the movement of his mobile phone signal matched that of the bin lorry which had picked up the contents of the bin.
The signal stopped when the lorry reached the Barton Mills area 14 miles away.
The rubbish was taken to a transfer station at Red Lodge. Records suggest it then went to the Milton landfill site, but police have not discounted it being taken elsewhere.
The lorry was impounded, but no forensic clues linking it to Mr McKeague were found. CCTV cameras also failed to capture images of him leaving the bin area on foot.
Bin lorry operator Biffa initially wrongly stated that records showed the wheelie bin behind Greggs had only contained around 11kgs of waste.
Officers repeatedly asked for the calculation to be checked and Biffa later admitted that it had made a mistake and the bin contained 116kgs – enough to include a body.
Mr McKeague’s girlfriend April Oliver, then 21, found out that she was pregnant with his child after he disappeared and later gave birth to his daughter Ellie-Louise.
Last year, on the third anniversary of his disappearance, Ms Urquart said she accepted her son was dead – but said she hadn’t given up hope of finding his remains.