Deceased/Not Found UK - Steven Clark, 23, disabled, murdered, Saltburn, Dec 1992 *Arrests in 2020*

shiraz

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I seem to have upset you. I don't think Steven had learning difficulties, mental health issues etc. I just thought that as his parent's said that he was unable to find work then he would have been claiming benefit for his physical disability. I am all too aware of the discrimination disabled people face as I am disabled and have managed a support group for the past 36 years.
 

Tortoise

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It's normal for people being interrogated for hours on end to start questioning what they remember. LE can word their questions to sow doubt in the person being interrogated. After 30 years and now with the parents either in their 80s or pushing 80 along with some self recriminations over the years, I don't think it's unusual.
Presumably police have the Clarks' early versions of the day Steven went missing, for them to have discussed it and told Doris her story keeps changing.

<modsnip>
 
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Kitkat28

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I seem to have upset you. I don't think Steven had learning difficulties, mental health issues etc. I just thought that as his parent's said that he was unable to find work then he would have been claiming benefit for his physical disability. I am all too aware of the discrimination disabled people face as I am disabled and have managed a support group for the past 36 years.
It wasn’t aimed at you. Sorry, I should have made that clearer and not put it in the same post where I answered your post.
 

Streetspirit

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It's also not the kind of beach where you'd get cut off by the tide really.

it certainly is possible to get cut off at the right time. I ended up in the mud half way between marske and Saltburn once when I was a kid. I had to go up the hill side to avoid the water. I timed it all wrong. Only time I ever did it but it certainly was possible then.

also, completely agree about the distance. It’s a decent walk and certainly not a “pop back home” walk. If steven had set off that way home, Doris would definitely have caught up with him or at least been able to see him in front of her. So if they were there at the beach, and he left the toilet to walk home, he didn’t go back along the beach.
 

CrackerC119

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I'm currently watching the documentary and have a few thoughts.

Why would the mother leave her son when he didn't reapper from the toilet? Regardless of his age, would it not seem strange that he just seemed to vanish?

When both of the parents were told about him being reported as being seen walking towards home, the parents seemed only concerned about how it could be used against them in terms of the investigation. They didn't seem concerned about what could have happened after he was seen coming home. I'm surprised they didn't seem to find that emotive.


<modsnip>

Question: Did the men with the child who were allegedly seen outside the toilets ever come forward?

The alleged sighting of Steven with a girl doesn't really give me much of an idea of what happened next. It would seem as though they didn't run away together. Could they have been lovers and broke up, could this have left Steven distraught, and frustrated?
 
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CrackerC119

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Some more thoughts
  • The witness who claimed he saw Steven later appeared to slightly alter his story.
  • The witness knew Steven's parents.
  • Despite the witness knowing Steven's parents, his wife in the documentary seemed to talk about Steven as someone they barely knew. It seemed as if she was talking just about a familiar face in the local area.
  • Was she trying to distance herself from the parents, if so, why?
  • Looking at the picture shared on here, it seems that the building in the older picture is also public toilets. It is much larger than the image of the toilets largely available online. This would mean more space and potentially less of a chance for Doris to hear anything that happened to Steven.
  • Steven had a disability affecting one of his hands, this could have infirmed his balance. It could also have affected his ability to extend his arms out to protect himself, should he slip and fall in the toilets. Would this not have sparked concern with Doris if he didn't re-appear from the toilets?
  • If I recall correctly, Steven's father claimed that money was still in Steven's bank account. This would put doubt on any theory that Steven went away to start a new life.
  • December 1992 I am not sure how accurate this information is. It suggests very cold weather towards the late end of the month. This would make the chances of hypothermia greater if Steven were to have fallen in to the sea.
  • The cold weather could have also made the promenade less popular with tourists. This could have meant the toilet facilities were fairly quiet and underused.
Some Thoughts That Occured To Me
  1. The toilet story Doris gives is rather unique and if made up, why would Doris describe people who she says were at the toilets, in such a small place, would it not have been fairly easy to verify this? I wonder if Steven and Doris left the toilets together and an argument occured on the walk home. Christmas and New Year can be a stressful time. I sensed friction between Steven and his father, and Steven's father bluntly said Steven would have to buy a ticket if he came to the football. Could Doris have felt caught between the tension between the father and son and have lost her temper on the walk home and pushed Steven in to the sea? Would something like that have been noticed (if that did happen) late on a winter's afternoon, just before sunset?
  2. Could Steven have been the victim of or involved somehow in sexual activity in the Gents' toilets? Toilets have been known as the location of sexual activity and I could imagine back in the 1990s, before hook up apps, this was even more so the case (in general). Could Steven have been attacked in the toilets or could he have even been directed to somewhere away from the toilets under the promise of sexual encounters and later been killed?
Cracker's Final Thoughts
Would a 23 year old walk away from their mother at public toilets without giving explanation or saying a polite goodbye for now? I could imagine a teenager doing that, but I find it hard to imagine a 23 year old would.

<modsnip> The man who claims he saw Steven or someone who looked like Steven gives me mixed feelings. On one hand, it is said that he knew the parents of Steven. <modsnip> On the other hand, I can't think of any motive for him to come forward other than someone who genuinely saw what he says he saw, infact, it would seem against his best interests to involve himself in the case, would he have to be 100% confident he had no involvement to come forward? But, why would his story seem to change and why would his wife discuss Steven in such unfamiliar terms?
 
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CrackerC119

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I believe what happened was that immediately after Mr. Clark went missing, the person remembered she'd just seen him the day before or so, actually passed right by him. He is remarkable in that he has a disability which affects his gait. She thought it was him and even confirmed it with family members, but didn't think important to the investigation. (As an aside, I know a lot of others here think that is strange, but I don't think so. I wouldn't think that, just because I'd seen someone before they apparently disappeared, it would have anything to do with the disappearance.)

Sometime later, much later, she realized, or was told, that her seeing him immediately before he disappeared could be significant, so she told police. I really don't think it's strange at all.
I tend to think the same as you. I think that seeing someone if they didn't seem to he hurt or in any danger might not make that much of an impact in your mind. I think she would have remembered seeing him because his disability makes him stand out (rightly or wrongly) from most others in society and I feel these things would be noticed in close knit communities. If he was seen at around 15:45, that would seem plausible to me and support what Doris says about the toilets. I need some more information regarding this alleged sighting. I'm going to look at the local area and his possible route home. From what I've read, I can't find any reports of disagreements with people outside of his family. So, I can't think of a reason for a non familial person to target him on a walk home. I wonder what possible dangers could be encountered on a walk from Saltburn to Marske. It's worth checking for things like streams and slippery/potentially icy steps.

<modsnip>

This case keeps drawing my mind to that of Damien Nettles. He disappeared near to the sea on the Isle Of Wight, also in the 1990s. Like this case, my opinions are conflicted and I find it hard to establish a clear idea of what happened.
 
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CrackerC119

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With Regards To The Witness Who Claims To Have Seen Steven Walking Towards The Ship Inn

So, a witness claims to have seen Steven walking towards The Ship Inn around the time he is claimed to have gone missing. It's not clear if anyone at the Inn claimed to have seen Steven, so it appears not. The other thought I have is that he is claimed to be walking in the direction of the sea (opposite the direction of his home). It is suggested there could have been a disagreeement earlier that day, could Steven have been upset and decided to end his life by entering the water? Huntcliff, a place that seems to be some sort of forest is also in the direction he was said to be headed. Could he have been going to meet someone in the forest?

What do we know about his social life? There is little mention of it in the articles that I've read. Some disabled people are very socially isolated.
 

CrackerC119

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So, this case has been giving me a headache for the past few hours but I have reached my opinion on what I think happened.

I think Steven was still alive at the turn of the New Year. I don't think his parents killed him. I find the psychology of his parents and a rumoured potential motive suggestive that one or both of them could be involved. But, I don't believe it would have been possible for practical reasons. These reasons are:-
  • The reported sighting of him on the day he disappeared, which I do strongly believe to be true, having thought about the person who made the statement puts him in the area at the time, this, in my opinion supports Doris's story.
  • Said sighting suggests he was walking away from home.
  • As the above suggests that he was alive at this time, I don't doubt that his father went to the match as normal.
  • Although the time that he was reported missing isn't noted by the police, I believe that Charles and Doris would have believed that the time would be logged, and I therefore believe the time Charles said it was reported is correct.
  • The time Charles said it was reported would allow little, if any time for Steven to return home, and for Charles to return home, there be an argument, Steven be killed and his body disposed of before the police began investigating.
  • I also feel atleast one of the parents would have needed time to emotionally prepare themselves, if they had just killed and buried/disposed of their son, and I don't think there was time for that.
  • Despite their behaviour seeming odd to me, and the lack of emotion regarding their son, being apparent in the documentary, they have withstood immense scrutiny and still maintained their claims of innocence. That's not a detirmining factor, of course, many guilty people continue to deny their crimes but I do feel there is a possibity a guilty person would crack and confess, especially with their garden being dug up in search of evidence.
I have a feeling Steven was being influenced, maybe taken advantage of because of his disability. I don't know if groomed is the right word, but I think he was in a relationship with someone who was leading him astray from his family. I think he was encouraged to walk off and leave his mother. I have no idea about the rest, but these are my thoughts that I've become sure of having looked at it in detail.
 

Kitkat28

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Why would the mother leave her son when he didn't reapper from the toilet? Regardless of his age, would it not seem strange that he just seemed to vanish?
This is what it boils down to for me; she wouldn’t. Nothing to do with any disabilities, but more a sense of ‘he went in and hasn’t come out, so where is he?’

I’m a mother of a 23 year old NT, physically able man and although it’s different these days with mobile phones, I just wouldn’t walk off if I didn’t know where he was. If I’d said to him “I’m going to the loo and I’ll see you outside” one of us would be sitting on a wall waiting for the other. After, say, half an hour I would go to the door and shout his name to make sure he was ok. If there was no answer, I’d find a passing bloke and ask them to check. Then I’d head home to see if he’d decided to go on ahead.
 

Streetspirit

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With Regards To The Witness Who Claims To Have Seen Steven Walking Towards The Ship Inn

So, a witness claims to have seen Steven walking towards The Ship Inn around the time he is claimed to have gone missing. It's not clear if anyone at the Inn claimed to have seen Steven, so it appears not. The other thought I have is that he is claimed to be walking in the direction of the sea (opposite the direction of his home). It is suggested there could have been a disagreeement earlier that day, could Steven have been upset and decided to end his life by entering the water? Huntcliff, a place that seems to be some sort of forest is also in the direction he was said to be headed. Could he have been going to meet someone in the forest?

What do we know about his social life? There is little mention of it in the articles that I've read. Some disabled people are very socially isolated.

the witness saw steven near the ship inn heading towards the beach yes. But this is the direction of his home as his house sits between the ship inn and the beach.

huntcliff is at Saltburn. It is not a forest. It’s a cliff with flat fields on top. If steven was back in marske then he would have had to get all the way back to Saltburn to jump off huntcliff. It is no where near where he is reported to have been seen.

the area of woodland searched as part of the home search is a place called Foxcovet. It is a small piece of woodland along the sea front around 1/4 mile from steven’s house towards Redcar. It isn’t a huge spot and is regularly trafficked by dog walkers. If stevens body was in there after completing suicide I would have thought someone would see it. It doesn’t strike me that steven would be able to use a rope on a tree and get himself up easily given his disability. Other methods would have to be used then, like going into the sea or up huntcliff.

huntcliff requires him going back to Saltburn. The sea is plausible, just last year a woman did that in Marske, she was missing for around a month I believe before her body was found on a beach in Hull.
 

CrackerC119

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This is what it boils down to for me; she wouldn’t. Nothing to do with any disabilities, but more a sense of ‘he went in and hasn’t come out, so where is he?’

I’m a mother of a 23 year old NT, physically able man and although it’s different these days with mobile phones, I just wouldn’t walk off if I didn’t know where he was. If I’d said to him “I’m going to the loo and I’ll see you outside” one of us would be sitting on a wall waiting for the other. After, say, half an hour I would go to the door and shout his name to make sure he was ok. If there was no answer, I’d find a passing bloke and ask them to check. Then I’d head home to see if he’d decided to go on ahead.
I completely agree with you. Even if I was out for a walk with a mentally and physically fit 20 year old body builder, I'd be puzzled that they just vanished.
 

CrackerC119

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the patio story is local gossip. I was not present then, so can’t confirm that. A few different people have told me that it was a known “joke” that steven was buried under the patio. Sick, but gossip all the same.

Likewise there are rumours that they did have a huge argument about the football match, not just a chat as Charles claims. A close friend of the family told me that Chares and Doris spoke about an argument in the months after he went missing.

again, not fact, just local people talking about what they believe they have seen/heard in the village.
Thanks for the background information. I'm not from the area, so trying to get an image of the surroundings.

I have watched the This Morning interview and it seemed to me that the football match ticket issue was more than just a throwaway comment. Steven didn't go to the match, despite it being a regular tradition for he and his father to go. It seems to me that Steven was definitely bothered by his father's comment.

I wonder if Steven's disability caused him to struggle to deal with emotions. I wonder if being upset by something a family member had said would be magnified and difficult for him to comprehend. Could that explain Steven allegedly vanishing from the toilets?
 

Streetspirit

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I wonder what possible dangers could be encountered on a walk from Saltburn to Marske. It's worth checking for things like streams and slippery/potentially icy steps.

not many. It’s a long walk but a flat one. The beach is wide, so when the sea is out it’s a huge open flat area. When the tide is in you get pushed close to the base of the dunes that run along the whole walk.

There aren’t any streams etc. Even in the middle of winter there will be someone on that beach. I have taken runs at 6-7am when the sun is barely coming up and there are dog walkers out then. No matter what the weather.

there are multiple ways to access the beach from marske. The most likely from Stevens house is turn right out of his house and straight down. There’s a path which takes you down passed Cliff House and onto the beach. It’s not particularly steep but could be harder if you were unsteady on your feet. It is a heavily used route however for dog walkers. Even in winter. If he fell here he would have been found. Also, the sea would not have reached him here, so he wouldn’t have been washed out if he fell here.

the other alternative is through the alleyway next to his house, it’s a small cut through past some cottages. You then access a boat slip way. But it’s more of a normal car sized tarmac road which leads onto the beach. Less steep and easy access. Unlikely to fall here and again heavily used so would have been found.
 

CrackerC119

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Are there any confirmed eye-witnesses to “the walk” even happening?

MOO
This is what I want to know and I know a few people have asked if the people outside the toilet that Doris claims she saw ever came forward.

Also, what would there have been in terms of CCTV back then? I wasn't alive in 1992, but I know it was starting to be introduced in the 90s, I'd have hoped a major store would have some basic form of CCTV outside.
 

Streetspirit

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This is what I want to know and I know a few people have asked if the people outside the toilet that Doris claims she saw ever came forward.

Also, what would there have been in terms of CCTV back then? I wasn't alive in 1992, but I know it was starting to be introduced in the 90s, I'd have hoped a major store would have some basic form of CCTV outside.

the only thing there would have been toilet block. The pier and the cliff lift. I don’t think there would have been cctv.
There are a few small ice cream shops / cafes now but back then I’m not sure what there would be and certainly not open on that date. I’m not surprised there wasn’t any cameras.
 

CrackerC119

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I wonder if it would be worth appealing to people who may have personal camera photographs from that day.

It's a long shot but it was Christmas time, a time when people take family photos, perhaps on the beach, perhaps in front of the Christmas lights in the town. I do know people had personal cameras and polaroids back then. I'm going to search on Flickr. I will let you all know if I find anything of interest.
 

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Are there any confirmed eye-witnesses to “the walk” even happening?

MOO
I come new to the case, having watched the TV documentary last night. I assume Steven is dead and ask myself:
Did the fact both parents were retired police officers impede the investigation? (Was Charles already retired in 1992, aged 50?)
What if Steven did not accompany his mother on her walk?
... If Charles did not go to the football match? (no evidence he was there; spoke to no one)
We know he did go out in his car.
... If the eye-witness sightings after 28 December were all mistaken?
The parents have not been charged, because no evidence has been found to support a charge. That is all.
There is then only one question to ask, of one person.
 
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