Day-after-day since lacking mother-of-five Sarah Wellgreen vanished almost two months in the past, the lifetime of her devastated accomplice has adopted the identical soul-destroying ritual.
The minute recruitment guide Neil James, 45, wakes, he reaches for his cell phone to test for information updates and messages within the hope that she has been discovered.
Poring over comfortable images of their two years collectively, he ruminates obsessively over the place she is and what might have occurred to her.
Subsequent, he scans their social media and textual content messages — for the umpteenth time — looking for clues to unlock the thriller.
Rail-thin and gaunt, his tormented thoughts can consider nothing however the perplexing disappearance of the bubbly 46-year-old beautician, whose face now smiles from a whole lot of lacking individuals posters.
Neil James (proper), 43, and Sarah Wellgreen (left), 46, met in late 2016 by way of a courting web site after she had separated from Ben Lacomba, father of her three youngest youngsters
Neil James is urging supply drivers, cabbies and cyclists to jog their reminiscences to when she disappeared eight weeks in the past. The couple are pictured collectively on vacation
Sarah was final seen on the night of October 9 within the leafy Kent village of New Ash Inexperienced, the place she lived together with her three youngest youngsters and former accomplice, 38-year-old taxi driver Ben Lacomba.
It was a messy, tangled, scenario, however Neil says that he and Sarah — who’d separated from Mr Lacomba earlier than they met — have been hoping to marry as soon as she’d finalised the break up together with her ex.
Neil remembers his final cellphone name to Sarah at 9.24pm from his flat — a 90-minute drive away in Farnham, Surrey — the evening she was final seen.
Ms Wellgreen lived together with her former accomplice, 38-year-old taxi driver Ben Lacomba (pictured) within the leafy Kent village of New Ash Inexperienced
Sarah was already in mattress, he says, and made no point out of going out once more. She was excited a couple of new, well-paid job she’d simply secured and her plans for the long run.
The next morning, Neil despatched a textual content: ‘Morning, honey, how are you?’ When it did not ship, he put it all the way down to a flat cell battery.
However as later calls to her cell went unanswered, he grew more and more frantic.
Panicked, he referred to as Sarah’s sons from a earlier marriage, Lewis, 22, and Jack, 21, to ask in the event that they’d heard from her. They could not attain their mum both. And nobody has heard from her since.
Sarah was reported lacking on October 11, with police now treating the case as a ‘potential homicide’ and describing her disappearance as utterly out of character.
‘I do not assume I’ll ever see Sarah alive once more,’ says Neil. ‘Not in spite of everything these weeks.’ Present on adrenaline and cigarettes, Neil says he’s determined for some type of decision.
A divorced father of two youngsters — a son, 9, and a woman aged three — Neil says his daughter was staying with him on the evening of his final dialog with Sarah, and retains asking about her.
Neil is talking now, within the hope of jogging the reminiscence within the thoughts of somebody — anybody — who may unwittingly maintain the clue to her disappearance.
‘Sarah would by no means have left her youngsters. She adored them. One thing horrible will need to have occurred to her, and never understanding is torture,’ he says, describing the previous few weeks in limbo as ‘heartbreaking’.
‘My youngsters liked her. They referred to as her ‘Mummy Sarah’ and hold asking the place she is, however I do not know what to inform them.’
A faithful mum, Ms Wellgreen missed her son’s 13th birthday — two days after her disappearance — one thing her household say can be unthinkable. She is pictured right here with former accomplice Mr Lacomba circa 2012
Within the lavatory of Neil’s three-bedroom flat, Sarah’s toothbrush nonetheless stands subsequent to his. Within the wardrobe hangs her work uniform — a burgundy tunic and black trousers. Sarah’s beloved Persian cat, Leo, is curled up on the couch.
Neil would not need to consider she’ll by no means come again, however each fibre of his physique is telling him in any other case. However he cannot cry or grieve for her till he is aware of for sure.
Since Sarah went lacking, a whole lot of volunteers have scoured woods close to her residence and round Kent. Divers have searched the Thames and River Darent, close to Dartford.
Detectives have studied greater than 2,000 hours of CCTV footage and searched her residence, however are nonetheless no nearer to discovering her.
She vanished with out hint, forsaking her 4WD Hyundai Santa Fe SUV and financial institution playing cards, which stay unused to today. Her black iPhone can’t be positioned; it’s both switched off or the battery is useless.
The CCTV outdoors Sarah’s residence was switched off on the evening she went lacking, so her final actions stay unknown.
A faithful mum, she missed her son’s 13th birthday — two days after her disappearance — one thing her household say can be unthinkable.
On October 16, a person in his 30s — reportedly Ben Lacomba — was arrested and, after three days in custody, launched on bail till November 16, pending additional investigation. His bail was later prolonged till the brand new 12 months.
On November 4, grainy CCTV footage emerged of a hooded motorist performing suspiciously in Greenhithe, Kent, 5 days after Sarah’s disappearance.
The photographs present a person spending eight minutes in an space close to the Thames, leaving a Vauxhall Zafira parked in a facet road whereas he walks in direction of the riverbank.
This grainy CCTV photographs of a hooded man and a automobile parked close to a river might present important clues within the ‘potential homicide’ of lacking mom Sarah Wellgreen
The footage triggered a police search of mudflats which, so far as we all know, yielded nothing. The person has by no means been recognized.
Kent police, in the meantime, renewed their enchantment for individuals who might have been inside a five-mile radius of the Bazes Shaw space of New Ash Inexperienced the evening Sarah disappeared, or the next morning, to come back ahead.
Neil James has issued his personal Fb enchantment urging anybody with CCTV or dashcam footage to contact the police, even with the tiniest of particulars they could assume insignificant.
As he now tells his story for the primary time in depth, the complexities of the riddle confronted by detectives couldn’t be extra obvious.
From the outset, the investigation has centred on Sarah’s difficult private life.
Her disappearance is about in opposition to a backdrop of previous fractured relationships and searches for love by way of web courting.
Neil and twice-divorced Sarah met in late 2016 by way of a courting web site after she had separated from Mr Lacomba, father of her three youngest youngsters, a son aged 12 and six-year-old twins, a boy and lady.
Sarah had moved from the £330,000 four-bedroom household residence in Kent, to Portsmouth — greater than 100 miles away — the place she owned a property and labored part-time at a magnificence salon. Her mom, stepfather, and two grownup sons from a earlier marriage, to whom she was shut, additionally lived within the metropolis.
‘Sarah was heat, loving and really enticing,’ remembers Neil, who spent weeks speaking to her by cellphone earlier than they met. ‘She was fairly, voluptuous, smiley and at all times enjoyable.
‘I felt I might discovered a kindred spirit. We have been on the lookout for one thing severe. Sure, it was difficult, however we understood one another,’ says Neil, who invited Sarah to his flat for a meal on their first date.
‘It was shortly earlier than Christmas and my son was staying with me, so it wasn’t straightforward to exit or prepare dates,’ says Neil, whose flat was a 40-minute drive from Portsmouth.
‘Sarah walked in and instantly began to assist my son beautify the tree. She simply had this particular bond with youngsters. I used to be utterly greatly surprised by her, head over heels.’
Neil James (pictured with Ms Wellgreen) has issued his personal Fb enchantment urging anybody with CCTV or dashcam footage to contact the police
Within the submit on Fb Neil James urged individuals to jog their reminiscences to when she disappeared on October 9
Kent Police Tactical Operations Search and Marine Unit looking a lake on Tuesday close to to the place she vanished
Police launched photographs displaying specialist cops and firefighters looking a water-filled drainage and ditch
When the boiler at Sarah’s Portsmouth residence broke, Neil invited her and her three youngsters to remain for Christmas till it could possibly be mounted.
‘All of us received on so properly. Sarah and her children by no means actually left,’ says Neil, whose two youngsters repeatedly stayed, too.
‘Her daughter shared bunk beds with mine in a single room, and her sons and mine shared one other room.
Sarah enrolled her youngsters within the native college,’ says Neil, who launched her to his work colleagues and met her household in Portsmouth.
‘Sarah advised me she wished to get married once more earlier than she was 50, and we talked about having a register workplace marriage ceremony in Guildford, adopted by an enormous get together in Majorca.’
However there have been stresses, too. Neil says Sarah’s youngsters have been near their father and missed their outdated pals again in Kent.
Though spacious, Neil’s flat will need to have felt fairly cramped with 5 younger youngsters, who have been now a part of an on the spot blended household, and no backyard to play in.
The pace with which Sarah and her youngsters moved in with Neil — barely two months after that they had met — additionally heightened disputes together with her ex-partner over their youngsters.
The pressure and disruption of the to-ing and fro-ing between Kent, Farnham and Portsmouth ultimately took its toll.
After virtually 18 months collectively, Sarah immediately left Neil in Could 2018, apparently with out warning.
‘One morning I had a name at work from the youngsters’s college asking the place they have been. I phoned Sarah and he or she advised me she’d gone. She stated she could not deal with the scenario any extra,’ says Neil.
‘I used to be heartbroken, however Sarah felt she needed to put the youngsters first. She was very burdened over the scenario together with her ex, and nervous that she might lose her children, they usually meant the whole lot to her.’
Sarah’s fiancé Neil James (pictured), 45, of Farnham, Surrey, stated he spoke to her the evening earlier than she went lacking on October 9
Because of this, Sarah determined to maneuver again into the household residence with ex-partner Ben Lacomba.
It was, Neil understands, a temp-orary co-parenting association, fairly than a reconciliation.
Neil says Sarah advised him she and her ex-partner, who had additionally met somebody new after splitting from Sarah, had separate bedrooms and shared the college runs. Mr Lacomba additionally repeatedly labored nights as a taxi driver.
Each weekend, Sarah continued to drive to work in Portsmouth, however had dominated out transferring again there together with her youngsters. She advised Neil the faculties have been higher in Kent and it could be much less disruptive for them dwelling with their dad.
So far as Neil was conscious, this new association — although not best — was moderately amicable.
May Sarah have simply walked out? Had she — unbeknown to Neil — met somebody new? May she have crossed paths with a murderous stranger, or felt suidical?
When she first went lacking, pals and relations instructed she’d been courting different males following her break from Neil and reportedly contemplated whether or not she’d gone off with a brand new lover — probably to a flat she owned in Spain.
Her uncle, Ronald Wellgreen, 61, stated that the final time he’d seen Sarah in the summertime, she’d spoken a couple of new romance.
Sarah Wellgreen, a 46-year-old beautician, was final seen on Tuesday, October 9
HE SAYS: ‘She advised me she had a brand new boyfriend. I noticed a photograph on Fb of her with a person who seemed to be in his 20s and as if he could be Turkish, although the picture was taken within the UK — that was the final image I noticed of Sarah.’
Martin Prus, 43, supervisor of the Puresun Well being and Magnificence Centre in Portsmouth, the place Sarah labored part-time, additionally spoke of a person in his 30s, who regarded Italian or Spanish, who picked her up from work in the future in August.
‘I am unsure in the event that they have been formally a pair or if that they had simply began courting, however there positively gave the impression to be one thing between them,’ he stated.
It was additionally reported that Sarah, who pals stated was her regular, cheerful self simply earlier than she vanished, had visited a number of non-public shoppers shortly earlier than her disappearance to present magnificence therapies or sports activities therapeutic massage.
However Neil, who says he and Sarah reconciled in July, dismisses as nonsense the rumours of her seeing different males.
He additional rubbishes any suggestion that she wished to finish her life or begin a very new one with out her youngsters.
The Mediterranean-looking gent, he claims, was the boyfriend of certainly one of her pals who was serving to Sarah with DIY at her Portsmouth residence, which she was renting out.
‘Throughout our break up, Sarah advised me she’d been on a few dates, however stated certainly one of them was solely after her cash and he or she did not click on with the opposite,’ says Neil. ‘
We received again collectively as a result of I nonetheless liked her and he or she realised she nonetheless liked me. She had various common non-public shoppers, who have been largely girls, and I’ve spoken to all of them.’
Neil final noticed Sarah two weekends earlier than she went lacking, when she stopped at his flat in a single day, en path to Portsmouth.
She was meant to remain the weekend of October 6, however an altercation with a colleague on the salon had upset her, so she stayed there as an alternative to speak to her supervisor.
‘She would by no means have gone off with another person, leaving her youngsters,’ says Neil. ‘To my thoughts, she was the right mum or dad. Her children at all times got here first.
‘She was actually comfortable about her new job and he or she’d simply secured a mortgage, in order that she and the youngsters might keep of their residence and her ex-partner might dwell close by.’
Police search woodland and surrounding areas of Bazes Shaw, New Ash Inexperienced after Ms Wellgreen went lacking round two months in the past
A whole lot of volunteers and cops have scoured woodland near Ms Wellgreen’s residence in New Ash Inexperienced
Neil says he and Sarah have been speaking once more of marriage and he or she was sporting her mom’s outdated engagement ring, till they may afford a correct alternative.
They hadn’t set a marriage date, and Sarah vanished earlier than they may even work out the place they may dwell as a married couple — or how their respective youngsters would match into the brand new set-up.
‘We might each had our justifiable share of relationship automobile crashes prior to now, however have been actually wanting ahead to the long run,’ says Neil. ‘Sarah was the perfect factor that ever occurred to me, and now this?
‘I can not bear the thought I may not see her alive once more, however what’s worse is that her 5 youngsters — and mine — do not know the place she is or what’s occurred to her.’