Brother of man last seen in Stevenage recounts final meet in 1984: ‘The train was pulling away and I think he was crying – that was the last time I saw him'

This picture of David Kelly, who was last seen in Stevenage in 1984, was taken during a visit to see

This picture of David Kelly, who was last seen in Stevenage in 1984, was taken during a visit to see his brother in High Wymcombe. He has not seen him since. - Credit: Archant

The brother of a man who had been living in Stevenage before he ‘disappeared off the face of the earth’ in 1984 has spoken about the last moments they spent together – as he pleads for information to trace him.

David Kelly had visited his brother John and wife Kim at their family home in High Wycombe on the August bank holiday weekend in 1984, returning to his lodgings at Kimbolton Crescent in Stevenage on the Sunday.

The following Saturday, September 1, he left in the morning with just the clothes on his back – and hasn’t been seen since.

Both John and David had moved from Ireland to England for work, with David spending ‘months not years’ in the country where he had been employed as a carpenter.

David – who was 27 at the time of his disappearance but would be 59 now – had been plying his trade in Herts, Beds and London, and also had connections to Bedford, as well as Tottenham and Hornsey in the capital. He was born in Drogheda on the east coast of Ireland, where most of David’s family still live.

“I remember when the lady he lodged with rang me to say he hadn’t been back and asked whether he was with me or in Ireland,” said John, who has lived in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire since 1976.

“I later went to Kimbolton Crescent to collect his stuff – which included his passport – and it hadn’t been touched.

Most Read

“He just disappeared off the face of the earth and we still don’t know whether he’s alive or dead. My brothers, sisters and my mum, who is in her 90s, just want to know that’s he’s happy, alive and well.”

John told the Comet that thousands of scenarios have gone through his mind since his brother went missing in 1984, and one train of thought centres on David’s trusting nature.

“He went from knowing everyone where he lived in Ireland to knowing nobody,” said John, one of 16 brothers and sisters.

“He would have been very open and trusting, and could be gullible. When he visited me he went to play snooker and have a pint, and made friends within 10 minutes.”

About the bank holiday visit, when David had enjoyed a day out with John’s sons Christopher and Dominic, he said: “He got a phone call on the Sunday and said he needed to leave. We didn’t want him to be on his own for the Monday but he insisted.

“I took him down to the station and when the train was pulling away I’m sure he was crying. That was the last time I saw him.

“He rang me in the week but I said ‘ring me tonight’ as I was at work – that was the last I heard from him. He obviously rang me for a reason.”

John has searched for his brother for many years without success, and DNA samples have never found a match.

Previous appeals have failed, but John has not given up hope. He said: “I would urge anyone reading this who knows something to please come forward. We don’t need to know where he is, but just that he is alive and well, and happy.”

David was described at the time of his disappearance as being white, 5ft 7ins tall, of thin build and clean shaven.

Anyone with information about David’s disappearance can call PC Stuart Barnett via the Herts police non-emergency number 101 or email

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter