The family of a nine-year-old whose naked body was found after he vanished from his grandmother’s front garden are desperately searching for answers 30 years on.
Christopher Stanley was playing with a friend outside his grandmother’s home in Hounslow, west London, when he suddenly vanished on 29 July 1992.
His loved ones searched for him for hours while police used a helicopter with a thermal imaging camera to scour the nearby 200-acre Hounslow Heath.
But the youngster was discovered stripped naked, strangled and dumped inside a Second World War pillbox near the fourteenth hole of Hounslow Heath golf course by two boys the following day.
The Ghostbusters T-shirt and other clothes he was wearing that day have never been found and no one has ever been convicted of his killing.
A 24-year-old neighbour was initially charged with murder and faced a trial at the Old Bailey but he was later cleared by a jury.
Thirty years on, Christopher’s family are still desperate for answers and hope advances in DNA testing and other forensic technology could finally solve the mystery of who killed their “loveable rogue” if police ever re-examine the cold case.
Christopher was just six months old when his parents split up and he went to live with his maternal grandparents Diana and Charles Stanley and aunt Mary-Ann Stanley, 25, at their three-bedroom house in St Aubyn’s Avenue, Hounslow.
Kevin and Janey Webb, now 61 and 58, remember their mousey-haired green-eyed nephew as a “cheeky chappy” who could be eating mud and worms one minute, then playing pranks on his grandfather the next.
The couple had been living in nearby Feltham with their seven-year-old son Karl at the time of Christopher’s death and often saw their nephew.
“He was a loveable rogue,” Mr Webb told The Independent. “His Grandad was disabled and in a wheelchair and Christopher and Karl, our lad, they were inseparable.
“He had an artificial leg and when he used to get up and walk about they used to hide his leg – but they would give it back eventually,” she continued.
“He was a typical little boy, eating mud and worms. He would come in looking like he had just been helping the coal men for six months.”
“He loved school,” added Ms Webb. “Everybody was his friend at school. He loved everybody and everybody loved him. He was very smart.”
Ms Webb said her mother, who saw Christopher as a son rather than a grandson, never got over his murder and died just five year later in 1997, while her father died in 1988.
Her younger sister Mary-Ann still lives in the family home, where Christopher’s room remains just as he left it the day he disappeared three decades ago.
“Mary loved the kid and she misses him dearly,” said Ms Webb, who now lives near Newquay, Cornwall, with her family.
“She worked all her life but she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago and she’s housebound now.
“We get Christopher’s swimming certificates and all his school progress cards out every time I go up and between us we keep his memory alive.