THE DISTRAUGHT mother of a missing Whaley Bridge man has issued a heartfelt plea to the public to help “bring him home for Christmas”.
The fresh appeal concerning the mysterious disappearance of 28-year-old Steven O’Riordan – exactly five months to the day since he was first reported missing – came as investigators admitted their inquiry had now reached a critical stage.
Mr O’Riordan, who has health issues, was last seen by his mother Helen at 5.30pm on Monday May 30, when she drove him back to his Old Road home after spending the day together. He was reported missing five days later.
“If he is not found by Christmas, I can’t imagine how we are going to spend it without him. He has always been at the core of our Christmas,” she said.
“He was the first family member to greet me every Christmas morning and if he is not there to do that this year, it is going to be enormously difficult for me to get through the festive season.
“Steven must by now be very frightened. We, his family, were the most important people in the world to him and he would not deliberately keep away from us, particularly at this time of the year. We would appeal to the public to help us bring him home for Christmas.”
Police say Mr O’Riordan’s disappearance is completely out of character and are increasingly concerned for his welfare.
As well as extensive searches and enquiries in the Whaley Bridge area, officers have also been co-ordinating with neighbouring forces and other agencies in the belief he may have travelled to the North West, where he often attends a gym and has friends and family.
Detective Chief Inspector Tracy Lewis, of Derbyshire Constabulary, said investigators were keeping an open mind.
“He has not used his bank account since he went missing and we have not had any sightings of him,” DCI Lewis explained.
“As investigators it is very frustrating that we haven’t had any concrete information about his whereabouts. For us now, this is really the last chance to get information from the public.
“Steven is very close to his family and they are understandably devastated by his disappearance. We would appeal to anyone with information about Steven’s whereabouts to contact police.”
Mr O’Riordan’s uncle John Broadbent has also encouraged the public to come forward with information, describing his nephew as a “very nice gentleman”, very quiet, easy going and quite artistic, with a love of gardening and the outdoors. Mr O’Riordan was also a volunteer at Lyme Park, and regularly walked along the canal between Marple and Whaley Bridge, and in the Goyt Valley towards Buxton.
Asked by the Advertiser what personal message he had for his nephew, Mr Broadbent replied: “Please get in touch with your family and let us know where you are. We all miss you, and love you and want you home as soon as possible.”
Mr O’Riordan is 5ft 11ins and slim. He has shoulder-length, wavy, light brown hair which is sometimes worn in a pony tail, and he is normally clean shaven. It is not known what he was wearing on the day he went missing, but he may be carrying a rucksack.
Anyone with information should contact Derbyshire police on the new 101 non-emergency number or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.