Andrew Gosden was 14 when he left his family home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on 14 September 2007.
The only confirmed sighting of him was at Kings Cross in London the same day.
CCTV footage of Andrew Gosden at King’s Cross Station
Five years ago, Kevin (Andrews dad) took the 14-year-old to Muse the last time they played at Sheffield Arena – the teenager’s first rock concert.
Soon afterwards, on September 14, bespectacled Andrew – a prize-winning schoolboy described by teachers as a maths genius – took a one-way train journey to London and vanished.
He has not been seen or heard from since.
The teenager made a £200 cashpoint withdrawal on his way to catch the train. The account was never used again.
Two years on, Kevin, of Doncaster, South Yorks, and wife Glenys – who also have a daughter Charlotte, 18 – refuse to give up hope he is alive.
Or that Kevin won’t spot his face among the thousands of others pouring into the Sheffield Arena for the November 4 gig. Looking drawn, his voice cracking with the anguish of two long years, Kevin says: “If it was at all possible I believe Andrew would try and see Muse again.
“When we went it was his first rock concert and he absolutely loved it.
“Some of the tracks they played were his all-time favourites.
“We’re going to go to the gig and give out leaflets in the hope that somebody might spot him. I’ve really just run out of ideas now about appealing for information.
“I suppose this is the last hope of finding out what has happened.” A year ago Kevin, Glenys and Charlotte poignantly lit a candle at a London church to mark the first anniversary of Andrew’s disappearance. Last week the family released computer e-fits showing how Andrew might look like today, aged 16, either with his hair shoulderlength or bleached and cropped.
In the months leading up to his disappearance, Andrew had become captivated by the anthemic rock that has made Muse, a three-piece band from Devon, one of the major forces of stadium rock.
Known for their obsessive, mostly Goth fans, the band have collected a string of music awards, including two Brits, five Q awards and five MTV awards and are renowned for their electrifying live performances. The last sighting of Andrew, on the day he vanished, came when he was caught on CCTV at King’s Cross station in London, after he had just arrived in the capital from Doncaster.
In the footage Andrew is carrying a black bag emblazoned with the names of rock bands such as Muse, Slipknot, Dragon Force and Funeral for a Friend.
His parents hope his almost religious devotion to the band may be the key to tracing him again.
Kevin says: “Posters have been sent all over. Concerts where Goths go have been targeted. Every school in the country has been emailed in the hope that kids might notice something. What else can we do? We really don’t know.”
They have also written a poignant open letter to him, pleading for him to come home.
It begins: “We have all missed you so much since the day you left. Not a day goes by that you are not in our minds constantly.”
It goes on: “If you should ever read this, forget about any water under the bridge and please have no fear about making contact with us… we only want to know that you are safe and well.”
Kevin, Glenys and Charlotte have gone over the events of September 14, 2007 countless times. On that autumn morning, Andrew did not catch the school bus as usual.
Instead he waited until his parents left for work and let himself back into the house.
There, he changed out of his uniform, leaving his blazer neatly hanging on the back of a bedroom chair and putting his shirt and trousers in the washing machine.
Wearing a T-shirt, jeans and trainers, he then walked to a local garage, withdrew £200 from his savings account at a cash machine and headed for the train station, where he bought a one-way ticket to the capital.
A passenger on the 9.35am Doncaster to London train recalled sitting next to a boy exactly matching Andrew’s description and remembered how he sat quietly, engrossed in his PlayStation console.
Not knowing what happened to Andrew after 11.20am, when he arrived at King’s Cross, has left Kevin a broken man.
His son’s disappearance led him to a failed suicide attempt and a plunge into severe depression which caused him to leave his job as a speech therapist.
Glenys, 45, also a speech therapist, is now the family’s sole breadwinner.
Kevin says: “We’ve been over it time and time again but there is no reason we can think of why he went.
“Because he is so clever he would be very resourceful, so that gives me hope that he is out there somewhere. But since he took the £200 out of his bank before he went to London there has been no activity at all on his account.
“The police have checked regularly and there has been no attempt to touch the rest of the money he had in his savings.
“It’s so difficult knowing what he was thinking at the time he went and what has happened since. The phrase that always comes into my head is ‘living nightmare’. That describes exactly how I feel.
“I had to give up work because I couldn’t focus or think straight. I just can’t concentrate because I want to know my son is somewhere safe and well. If we had a postcard from him, just some proof from anywhere, I would settle.
But until that happens I just go over and over in my mind what could have happened.”
In his darkest moments Kevin ponders the worst that might have have happened to his son.
He says: “That’s when I have the idea that he might have fallen into the wrong hands five minutes from King’s Cross.
“I can’t bear the thought that he is suffering or being abused in some way. I would rather be told that he was dead than some ongoing abuse or suffering.
“At least that would be a conclusion and something we could try to deal with.
“One of the most upsetting things is that I find myself talking about Andrew in the past tense sometimes.
“But it’s because the lad we had for 14 years, who was gentle, caring, thoughtful and fun to be around, is not here any more.” One of Andrew’s favourite television shows was The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, in which Perrin – played by 70s icon Leonard Rossiter – fakes his death so he can start life anew.
Kevin asks: “Did he decide to do the Reginald Perrin thing and reinvent himself or was there something troubling him that he felt he couldn’t tell us? In my heart I still think his disappearance was a spur of the moment thing.”
They are questions that will continue to torment Kevin and Glenys until the day Andrew finally returns home.
The couple are devoted Christians and Kevin says their faith gives them the strength to carry on despite so many unanswered questions.
And, like the Biblical parable of the lost, prodigal son, Kevin says he will never give up watching and waiting, ready to welcome Andrew back with open arms.
If you think you can help, phone Missing Persons free on 0500 700 700 or visit missingpeople.org.uk.
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