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Pre-inquest review held into the 'tragic' death of RAF Honington airman Corrie McKeague over four years after his disappearance in Bury St Edmunds

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Proceedings hoping to solve the ‘tragic’ death of airman Corrie McKeague commenced last week - more than four years after his disappearance on a night out in Bury St Edmunds.

At a pre-inquest review (PIR) held at Suffolk Coroner’s Court in Ipswich, senior coroner Nigel Parsley ruled the full inquest would not become a public inquiry into how police handled Mr McKeague’s case.

The PIR followed an application by Mr McKeague’s family to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the young airman’s disappearance in the early hours of September 24, 2016.

Corrie McKeague.
Corrie McKeague.

During the roughly two-hour long session, coroner Mr Parsley also stated another pre-inquest review would need to be held to discuss two further submissions from interested persons.

Two provisional dates were put forward for the pre-inquest review, as was a date for the full inquest of around September 20.

Mr Parsley did however state the date suggested for the full inquest hearing, which will be held with a jury, was provisional and based on legal representatives being able to attend.

Corrie McKeague was based at RAF Honington before his disappearance.
Corrie McKeague was based at RAF Honington before his disappearance.

The adverse impact holding the hearing around this time could have on Mr McKeague's family members, given around that date would mark the 5th anniversary of the airman's disappearance, was also another reason to leave the date provisional, the court was told.

Mr Parsley urged all involved in proceedings to remain flexible due to busy court timetables and current restrictions on people attending hearings due to the pandemic.

The pre-inquest hearing today comes after the disappearance of Mr McKeague just over four years ago.

One of Suffolk Police's most expensive investigations was launched following the 23-year-old's disappearance - he was last seen in Brentgovel Street, Bury.

Suffolk Police's Corrie McKeague missing poster.
Suffolk Police's Corrie McKeague missing poster.

More than 1,100 hours of CCTV footage was reviewed and this showed Mr McKeague sleeping in a doorway in the town before moving away.

In the months which followed, police zoned in on a bin lorry which collected waste from the area in the hours after the last confirmed sighting of Corrie.

Their hypothesis was that Mr McKeague had been in the bin which was collected from the area of Bury known as the horseshoe.

Suffolk Coroners Court, Ipswich. Picture: Mark Westley.
Suffolk Coroners Court, Ipswich. Picture: Mark Westley.

The young airman’s phone was recorded as having travelled away from Bury at the same time as the bin lorry.

The lorry was seized and searches carried out but no trace of Corrie was found.

On March 26, 2018, Suffolk Police released a statement which said that detectives had ‘reached the point where there were no realistic lines of enquiry left to pursue’.

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