Belfast Telegraph

Missing kayak man Robert Hanna's wife says police haven't spoken to them in weeks

By Ivan Little

The family of Carrickfergus man Robert Hanna who disappeared on a kayaking trip off Islandmagee 15 weeks ago have criticised the PSNI for failing to keep them informed about their search for him.

"They might be carrying out the most exhaustive of searches for Robert but they haven't told us anything for a long time," said his sister Catherine Loat, who lives in Belfast. "I haven't heard from them for eight weeks now," said Donna, his wife and mother of his three children. "We are all going out of our minds with worry but the police haven't kept their promises to let us know what has been happening.

"We did have a liaison officer but he told us that he'd never been involved in a situation like this. He normally deals with road traffic accidents."

Another of Mr Hanna's sisters, Mary McKee, said: "What makes it even more difficult is that people who are genuinely concerned for Robert are always asking us if there's any news of him. But I have to tell them that I don't know."

The PSNI said yesterday evening in a statement that the investigation into missing 47-year-old Mr Hanna was ongoing.

Mr Hanna, who was a salesman in Newtownards, was last seen on September 28 after he drove to Portmuck with his kayak for a short trip to sea before returning home to be with his nine-year-old son Luke after school.

Mr Hanna's kayak was found in mid-October on rocks off the coast of Campbeltown in Scotland but there was no sign of him. His family have given up all hope that he could be alive and they insist they just want his body to be returned to them.

"I've lost my parents and one of my brothers was killed in a road accident but this is the most difficult trauma I have ever faced," says Mrs Loat. "I just don't know how to move on. I try to do my everyday things but I am always wondering if it's today or tomorrow we are going to have him back. And to have no communication makes it even more dreadful."

She says her brother Jim travels regularly to Scotland on ferries with his motorbike to carry out his own searches there and adds: "We would be prepared to travel anywhere ourselves to look for Robert but we just don't know where to go. Mary McKee says she dreads driving from her home in Belfast to see Robert's family in Carrick. "I have one eye on the road and one eye on the water, thinking that poor Robert is out there somewhere. The night-time is particularly hard. I keep thinking it's cold, it's dark and he's down there some place on his own." Mrs Loat says: "I understand it's like looking for a needle in a haystack but we just wish the police would tell us what they're doing, if anything."

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