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Murder detectives probe disappearance of crew member, 22, who vanished on a ferry 40 years ago

Murder detectives are investigating the disappearance of a crew member on a North Sea ferry 40 years ago amid new fears that he was pushed overboard.

Kevin Dundon, 22, went missing after he was seen washing dishes in the galley of the Townsend Thoresen ferry Viking Viscount on September 21, 1980.

It was thought that Mr Dundon from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, may have gone into the sea, but a search failed to find his body.

Detectives have now taken new statements from people on board who believe he was a victim of foul play when he vanished 26 miles off Felixstowe, Suffolk.

Andy Guy, the Major Crime Review and Unsolved Case Manager for Norfolk and Suffolk Police, said: ‘There seems to be growing support to suggest Kevin’s disappearance was not accidental.’

Detectives are now appealing for new witnesses to come forward.

Kevin Dundon, 22 (pictured), went missing after he was seen washing dishes in the galley of the Townsend Thoresen ferry Viking Viscount on September 21, 1980

Kevin Dundon, 22 (pictured), went missing after he was seen washing dishes in the galley of the Townsend Thoresen ferry Viking Viscount on September 21, 1980

They are convinced that someone among the 86 crew and the 600 passengers on the ferry knows what happened to him.

Mr Dundon had only joined the Viking Viscount three days before disappearing on a return trip to Felixstowe from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

The last confirmed sightings of him were at 6.30pm when he left the galley through a door taking him to either the toilets or the deck.

Announcements were made over the public address system asking him to return before searches began on the ship.

Emergency services were informed that Mr Dundon was missing at 10.45pm – two hours after the ferry docked at Felixstowe.

The Viking Viscount left for Zeebrugge again at 11pm and joined three other ships, searching for him near the Galloper lightship until around 1.30am.

Thirty witness statements were taken at the time from people on the ferry, mainly crew members.

It emerged that Mr Dundon had spent time in the staff mess room which was frequented by crew and passengers invited in as guests.

His brothers, Jimmy, Tom and Danny Dundon, have always believed he was a victim of foul play.

Tom Dundon, 63, of Clacton-on-Sea said: ‘The police cold case team contacted us again about four or five years to get DNA because the technology for it did not exist at the time.

‘We spoke to them again. They re-interviewed everybody who was spoken to at the time and others who were not spoken to.

‘They believe now, as we have always done, that he didn’t go missing and something happened to him.

Kevin Dundon's three brothers Jimmy, Tom and Danny Dundon (pictured) have always believed he was a victim of foul play. Pictured from left to right are Danny, 60, Jimmy, 65, and Tom, 63

Kevin Dundon’s three brothers Jimmy, Tom and Danny Dundon (pictured) have always believed he was a victim of foul play. Pictured from left to right are Danny, 60, Jimmy, 65, and Tom, 63

‘When the boat docked at Felixstowe, a member of the crew went straight to the ship’s padre and told him stuff.

‘I got a call from the padre that night. He said he had heard some disturbing stuff, but he couldn’t tell me what it was.

‘This time, the police have been much more pro-active and they have been up and down the country interviewing people.

‘We thought for years that they had brushed it away and nothing would happen.

‘The sea at the time was like a pond. It was bright and calm, and you could see for miles and miles.’

Tom described his brother as ‘always happy and chilled and really relaxed’.

He added: ‘He loved music, buying new clothes and had a local girlfriend.’

Tom and his brothers said in a statement that their parents and sister Jennifer have all since died without knowing what had happened to Mr Dundon.

They added: ‘Seeing our family being torn apart with grief was virtually unbearable.

‘We remember that day vividly because the rest of the family were visiting Norfolk. It was a clear dry day with very good visibility into the evening, we were told the conditions were the same aboard the ferry.

Tom and his brothers said in a statement that their parents - Paddy and Rita (pictured) - and sister Jennifer have all since died without knowing what had happened to Mr Dundon

Tom and his brothers said in a statement that their parents – Paddy and Rita (pictured) – and sister Jennifer have all since died without knowing what had happened to Mr Dundon

‘Under these circumstances it is extremely unlikely Kevin could have gone overboard without being seen.

‘We implore anyone aboard the Viking Viscount that evening who may remember anything – however small – about the incident, to please contact the police.

‘It could be that a friend or relative may have mentioned something over the years and it would mean everything for us to finally know what happened to Kevin that evening, and finally give us closure.’

Mr Guy added: ‘The original investigation faced some considerable hurdles due to the fact Kevin was on a ferry 26 miles out at sea when he was last seen alive, and which was carrying almost 700 souls. 

Kevin was described by his brother Tom as 'always happy and chilled and really relaxed'. He added: 'He loved music, buying new clothes and had a local girlfriend'

Kevin was described by his brother Tom as ‘always happy and chilled and really relaxed’. He added: ‘He loved music, buying new clothes and had a local girlfriend’

‘The matter was further complicated due to the fact a majority of the passengers on board appear to have travelled using a ’60-Day Identity Card’, rather than a passport and because the ID of the holder was not logged with the shipping company, not every passenger was identified and traced.

‘Over the last two years we have identified and taken statements from individuals who were not seen at the time, but were on board the Viking Viscount with Kevin. There seems to be growing support to suggest Kevin’s disappearance was not accidental.

‘Although Kevin had only been with that ship for three days, if anyone does have answers as to what happened to him, it will come from his colleagues amongst the ship’s crew, or people he came into contact with in the mess room.

‘It is highly unlikely that Kevin was still on the ship when it docked at Felixstowe.

‘I believe there are individuals who were on that ferry that know what happened to Kevin, but have not previously told us. Kevin’s parents died without knowing what happened to their son, but there are three brothers who deserve to be given some answers and closure about the fate of their sibling.’

Anyone who believes they have information about Kevin Dundon’s disappearance, is asked to contact the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Crime Review and Unsolved Case Team on: 01953 423819 or by emailing: [email protected]

Alternatively, contact the charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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