Category: South Yorkshire

Reference Library – England – South Yorkshire

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Digger driver at centre of Ben Needham police probe was successful businessman who ‘knew everyone on the island’

The digger driver suspected of killing Ben Needham [1] was a wealthy businessman protected by a code of silence for 25 years, it is feared. Konstantinos Dino Barkas had a network of contacts all over Kos, the Mirror can reveal. Dino, who died of cirrhosis last year aged 62, was initially quizzed about Ben s disappearance and told police [2] he would chop his arms off so he could never drive again if he had killed 21-month-old Ben. But it is now feared these were hollow words and that he was able to hide a dark secret because he was so well connected on the Greek island where the toddler went missing in 1991. Read More John Alevroyiannis/Daily Mirror Digger driver Kostantinos Barkas A close friend of the Barkas family, who asked not to be identified, said: Everyone on Kos and I mean everyone knew Dino. The owner of a cafe in nearby Kos Town said: He was a very well-known figure in the business community. “He was a very successful businessman involved in the building of many hotels on the island. Despite owning the company he was a very hard worker and didn t mind getting his hands dirty. But he also loved his drink [3] and was a well-known womaniser. Read More Ben Needham has been missing for 25 years Ben s mum Kerry Needham said it would make sense if Dino had people protecting him. Kerry, from Sheffield, said: I thought he was just a poor digger driver, I had no idea he was so connected. “I m now starting to worry there has been a conspiracy of silence around him all these years. I think he was being protected which stopped people coming forward in 25 years. “But now I would appeal to them, to think of my family and the pain we suffered. John Alevroyiannis/Daily Mirror Kostantinos Barkas knew everyone on the island Please, stop being scared and help us find out exactly what happened to my son. Please come forward. Dino was widely known to be a heavy drinker, raising questions over whether he may have been drunk while operating heavy machinery. Despite his wealth Dino spent many days in the cab of his huge digger. He was clearing access for a delivery of concrete on the day Ben went missing, on a building site just 100 yards from the farmhouse where the toddler was playing in the village of Iraklis. When quizzed by the Daily Mirror in 2012 he said: Yes, I was the man with the JCB that day. John Alevroyiannis/Daily Mirror His son Valandis Barkas Loads of earth were being taken to clear the ground for the new house down the road. I think people were misled in thinking the child was abducted. Could there have been an accident? “I don t think so, but no one really knows what happened. But Dino later insisted to his close family that Ben had been abducted. It has been claimed Ben could have been killed in an accident but his body then removed from the scene and buried elsewhere. British police have been looking into the timetable of events leading up to Ben s disappearance. John Alevroyiannis/Daily Mirror Kostantinos Barkas’ grave After Dino s death last year a new witness told police there were two areas of land where building waste had been dumped by Dino which had never been searched. South Yorkshire Police [4] are now due to dig on Kos for a second time. The force confirmed officers will be travelling to Kos this month to work with Greek authorities and start digs at two new sites. Det Supt Matt Fenwick, leading the investigation, said: There will be planned operational activity at two locations on the island that have been identified as areas of interest to the investigation. “We continue to keep an open mind and have updated Ben s family about certain lines of enquiry we re currently exploring. North Downs Picture Agency Konstantinos Barkas A dedicated policing team continues to work extremely hard to find answers for his family and keep them fully informed and supported throughout the investigation. Kerry understands there is a statute of limitations of 20 years in Greek law, and does not believe there will ever be a prosecution for Ben s disappearance or death. Many islanders have reportedly long believed an accident involving construction machinery was the most credible explanation for Ben s disappearance. Shopkeeper Xanthippi Aggrelli, 63, was at school with Dino and got to know the Needhams when she volunteered as their translator in 1991. She told the Mirror: When it happened people were saying that something terrible has happened to the baby boy; some said the truck smashed into him. Daily Mirror Ben Needham vanished in 1991 There was a big Caterpillar truck and a digger. It was the baby s curiosity; he was going there to see. “We heard from many people that it was an accident. It was thought the body was hidden and that is why Ben has never been found. But Dino s family defended him. Son Valandis Barkas, 29, said: My dad lived his life with this hanging over him and I cannot believe they are still hounding him even after his death. “He had nothing to do with Ben s disappearance. Towards the end he was a very ill man, and he was very concerned and worried about everything to do with Ben coming back. It upset him a lot. Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror Kerry Needham and her mother Christine My mother is very, very tired. She lost her husband and now she has to go through all this. “When the British police came here he went up there to the site to help them. “He told them they could look as much as they want but they would not find the little boy there. As far as I know the boy was abducted. That s what my dad always said and that s what our family still believe today. “My father was a very good, honest man. My dad always told the police and prosecutors that there wasn t an accident. Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror Kerry Needham has been left devastated by the latest development He said the boy was taken away and almost certainly taken to Athens. He added: I hope that Ben is still alive. As a father myself I cannot imagine what his mother is going through. He said his father died from cirrhosis of the liver after suffering from intestinal problems for some time. Dino s brother Ioannis branded the renewed investigation disgusting . He said: My brother is dead he cannot defend himself. Why don t they let his soul rest in peace. I don t understand why they are still chasing Dino. Are they going to take a dead man in to court? Ben Needham References ^ Ben Needham (www.mirror.co.uk) ^ police (www.mirror.co.uk) ^ drink (www.mirror.co.uk) ^ South Yorkshire Police (www.mirror.co.uk)

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Truck dealer motors into new region

A Barnsley-based truck service dealer has expanded its operations into Manchester and created almost 50 jobs with the support of a 5m funding package from HSBC [1] . F&G Commercials has developed a 5.2-acre showroom and service centre in Trafford Park. It has also recruited 48 employees to manage the new facility, as well as a separate site in Manchester acquired in 2014. Frank Woodhead, joint managing director of F&G Commercials, said: “We are an ambitious company and with premises already in Huddersfield, Oldham and Barnsley, the next step for the business was to offer customers right along the M62 corridor our services. “HSBC s funding has allowed us to realise this ambition and, with our presence in Manchester we are well-placed to capture further market share from our competitors, and expect to increase turnover by 30 per cent over the next year.” F&G Commercials, an established DAF dealer since 1998, has dealerships across Yorkshire and the North West. Mike Swift, HSBC s area director for mid-market enterprise in West and South Yorkshire, said: “F&G Commercials is a great example of a successful and ambitious business that is continuing to expand its offering.” The deal was arranged by Tom Sikora, corporate relationship director at HSBC. References ^ HSBC (www.insidermedia.com)

Barnsley truck service dealer crates 48 new jobs with Manchester expansion 0

Barnsley truck service dealer crates 48 new jobs with Manchester expansion

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