‘Find people who killed my son’ - mum of missing Dagenham man Neill Buchel

Neill Buchel has been missing since March 13

Neill Buchel has been missing since March 13 - Credit: Archant

The mum of a missing Dagenham man who “lived and breathed” for his children has told of her anguish as the hunt for her son turns to a murder investigation.

Trish Kell, who lives in Durban, South Africa, told the Post Neill Buchel, 39, was a “gentle”, devoted father who loved travelling.

“He adored his daughters,” she said. “He lived and breathed for his two girls – they had a very close bond.”

Three men, aged 41, 35 and 35, were arrested and bailed last week on suspicion of Neill’s murder.

The grandson of an English Battle of Britain veteran, Neill – who grew up in South Africa and loved travel – moved to the UK in 2001 with his daughter Megan, now 16. His younger daughter Caitlin, 10, was born here.

“He was a happy kid,” said Trish. “He loved the bush and surfing and had lots of friends. He was really excited to come to England.”

Neill, of Braintree Road, went missing on March 13. He and a friend were involved in a verbal dispute with a group of men in Heath Park, Dagenham, at about 3pm that day, and a 41-year-old man was given a penalty notice for disorder.

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Neill is then believed to have headed to an address in Stansgate Road – since when he has made no contact with friends or family. Police were alerted five days later.

Det Ch Insp Chris Jones of the Met’s homicide and major crime command said: “We have not found Mr Buchel but we believe he has come to significant harm.

“It is highly unlikely he would not have contacted his friends and family, as he regularly did, if he was still OK.”

Heartbroken Trish added: “Talking about him in the past tense is horrible.

“Not knowing is the worst thing – is he dead? Was he injured? Did he die a violent death? Why did these people do this?

“I feel helpless. There’s absolutely nothing I can do. I sit and wait on the other side of the phone.

“Whoever has done this, I want to sit in court, see their faces and ask them why.”

Anyone who can saw the incident in Heath Park or has information should call police on 020 8345 3734 or phone Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.