Crimewatch Appeal Tonight over Missing Pensioner

Don Banfield visited betting shops and cafes in Shepherd's Bush

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Detectives investigating the disappearance of a pensioner with connections to Shepherd's Bush are appealing on tonight's BBC Programme Crimewatch for news of his whereabouts.

72 year- old Don Banfield, a retired betting shop manager from Trinidad has now been missing for over nine years.

Police, whose appeal will be broadcast on Crimewatch tonight, October 26 at 9pm say Don was reported missing on May 19, 2001.  He was last sighted by a family member leaving his home address in Locket Road, Wealdstone on May 13.

Mr Banfield, a retired betting shop manager from Trinidad, is described as black, of slim build with brown eyes, receding grey hair and approx 5' 6" in height. He also has a tattoo of a heart on his left hand.

Before his disappearance, he frequented betting shops and cafes in the west London area, particularly in Shepherds Bush, Hampstead and Wealdstone.

Mr Banfield speaks with a West Indian accent and is known to be a heavy smoker.

In February this year two women, aged 63 and 39, were arrested in connection with the investigation. They were subsequently bailed to return in November pending further enquiries.

In the last year, police have carried out two searches for his body, digging up the patio of his home in Wealdstone, and an allotment which was registered to his elderly father-in-law when he disappeared. Both times nothing was found.

Police have also revealed that his bank account has occasionally been used since his disappearance - but they believe someone else has been responsible.

They say that in May 2001 an investigation began at the Missing Persons Unit based at Harrow, and a number of appeals and lines of enquiry were followed. As part of a routine review into outstanding missing person cases across London, it was decided to revisit lines of enquiry and explore further forensic opportunities in this case.

This is being conducted by the Metropolitan Police Service's Homicide and Serious Crime Command (HSCC) who routinely investigate cases of high risk missing people.

Detective Inspector Tony Bishop, HSCC, says: "Nine years on we are reiterating appeals to trace missing retired betting shop manager, Don Banfield.

"Mr Banfield had a wide circle of friends and large family who he kept in regular contact with via telephone or letters - however, since his disappearance this contact has ceased. Our investigations have also revealed irregular activity with Mr Banfield’s bank accounts since 2001 which we do not believe he was responsible for carrying out.

"I am keen to speak to anyone who Mr Banfield may have spoken to about his plans for his retirement. Was he about to embark on any trip? Has anyone seen him or had contact with him since mid May 2001?"

Anyone with information which may assist police with this enquiry is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8247 7821; or if you wish to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

October 26, 2010