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'Devastated' Inverness mother appeals for help to find son

By Rachel Smart

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Gary Stewart.
Gary Stewart.

An Inverness mother is appealing for help to find her son who was last seen at the Kessock Bridge in November.

Selina Stewart (53) has been left devastated after her 22-year-old son Gary Stewart is believed to have fallen from the bridge.

She says she has been left 'emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted' as Police Scotland stepped down their search for her son after a matter of days.

She is now appealing for outside help to find Gary's body so she can lay him to rest, and is asking for anyone with a sonar boat to get in touch to help in her search.

Speaking at her home, Ms Stewart said: "The police have not helped at all. I just feel that I am getting no help and no support whatsoever."

Ms Stewart says she has had to organise a team with specialist dog searchers herself in order to look for her son.

"The searcher sent a 24-page report of their findings and I passed it onto the police," she explained. "It took them three days to go out. It shows me that the police are not worried.

"I got a call saying thank you for the information, and that they were going to do something about it but they wanted to use their own dogs.

"I then got a call saying there was a dive team coming up and I was told the day it was going to be.

"My whole family stood on the shoreline and watched them. Three went on the boat and went around the pillar once and then back to the dock at North Kessock. I just felt they wanted me to see they were doing something."

Ms Stewart and her family spend every day walking across the shorelines looking for Gary, but she believes that he is in the water and wants someone with a boat to help her with her searches.

She said: "I really want an appeal out there for someone to help me. Someone with a sonar boat to get the place searched. I don't hold much hope for the police."

After the incident, she says she was not given a liaison officer, and was told that Gary would be marked as a missing person.

She said: "Some part of me is telling me that Gary's gone, I've lost him. But there's losing him and there's losing him, that you can't find him to put him to rest. It's a whole different side of pain that nobody understands."

Ms Stewart described Gary as being 'well liked' and 'happy-go-lucky' so the incident came as an 'absolute shock' to the whole family.

Gary Stewart.
Gary Stewart.

She said: "Gary was a hard-working boy, he liked socialising with his friends and was very family orientated and loved his family.

"All my kids are devastated – Gary was the youngest and the baby of the family."

She feels that Gary has been forgotten by the authorities and says that she wants more to be done to help people who are in the same position.

"There were 200-odd incidents on the bridge one year, why is more not being done?" she asked.

Police Scotland has said it has carried out 'extensive searches' for Gary.

Chief Inspector Judy Hill said: “Officers, supported by specialist resources including the dive and marine unit and our partners at the Coastguard, have carried out extensive searches in relation to missing man Gary Stewart from Inverness.

“These searches have now concluded and we have been in contact with Gary’s family to update them.

“We understand how difficult a time this has been for Gary’s family and we will continue to act on all information we receive regarding his whereabouts.

“I would urge anyone who believes they may have information which could assist our enquiries to contact 101, quoting incident number 1058 of November 20, 2023.”

Anybody struggling with mental health issues can contact the Samaritans free on 116 123 or text Mikeysline on 07786 20 77 55.

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