Andrew Gosden was a gifted mathematics student with a 100% attendance record at The McAuley Catholic High School, who was on a government-sponsored programme to stretch the top five per cent of school pupils
He had been expected to score all A's in his GCSEs at school. The Gosden family live in Balby, a suburb of Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
Gosden thoroughly enjoyed London, and would visit the capital with his family to see his grandparents, aunts and uncles and family friends who lived there. He also enjoyed visiting London's museums and exhibitions.
According to Gosden's father, he also had a good knowledge on how the transport in the city worked, mainly the underground and buses, knew the layout, and was confident in navigating himself around.
On the morning of his disappearance, Gosden had difficulty waking up and was particularly grumpy. He left the house for his school bus, though instead diverted his route, and waited in a local park until the rest of the household had left for the day. He returned home, placed his uniform in the washing machine and blazer on the back of his chair. He then changed into his casual clothes, consisting of a black Slipknot t-shirt and black jeans, also taking his bag with various patches of rock and metal bands on it. He also took his wallet, keys and PlayStation Portable console, with no other possessions able to be identified as missing.
Gosden's father mentions that it didn't appear he took a sweatshirt or coat with him in case it was cold, and the electronic charger for his console wasn't taken.
He withdrew £200 from his bank account, went to Doncaster railway station and purchased a one-way ticket to London before boarding the 9:35am train to King's Cross. Witnesses saw him getting on the train alone, and CCTV at King's Cross shows him leaving the main entrance at 11:25am on the same day.
That was the last time Andrew was seen. The ticket seller on Doncaster station remembered Gosden because he refused a return ticket, despite it only costing a small amount more than a single.
When he failed to attend lessons at his school, the teachers tried to contact his parents but a misdial on the phone meant they ended up with the wrong number, and Gosden's disappearance was not logged until later that day.
Investigation and searches
The Gosden family sat down for dinner on the evening of the 14th of September, thinking Andrew was either in the converted cellar playing video games, or in his room doing homework. The family soon realised Gosden wasn't in the house, and wondered if he was with a friend or a neighbour and had lost track of time. After various phone calls, at around 19:00pm, the family realised something was wrong after discovering his absence from school, and police were called.
His father Kevin and sister Charlotte walked along his route to school and areas nearby in the hope of finding any evidence, though nothing was found. The family's gut instinct was that if Andrew had travelled to anywhere outside Doncaster, he would have travelled to London, based on how much he enjoyed it. The investigation soon discovered that Andrew had walked to Doncaster station for London.
Initial searches in London focused on the Chislehurst and Sidcup areas where the Gosden family have relatives. The Gosden family handed out flyers and posters in the vicinity of anywhere they felt Andrew would have had an interest in visiting, especially museums and exhibitions.
Gosden's family were critical of the initial stages of the investigation. The police focused on the family before scouring the CCTV tapes at King's Cross, despite eyewitnesses stating that they had seen Gosden boarding the train and what time that was. CCTV imagery of Gosden at King's Cross was not checked until 27 days after his disappearance, by which time the trail had gone cold.
According to Kevin, CCTV footage from buses and the adjacent tube station wasn't even requested by the authorities. The CCTV image of Gosden leaving the main concourse at King's Cross was accompanied by a close up of his right ear which has a distinctive double ridge.
In November 2008, a man visited Leominster police station in Herefordshire and used the intercom system to talk to a police officer, stating that he had information about Gosden. As it was an evening, the intercom system was in use rather than a staffed reception. When a police officer arrived to take the details the man had left. Police later appealed for him to get back in touch.
In September 2009, the family released age progressed images of what Andrew would look like aged 16, to mark the second year of his disappearance.
In May 2011, the family paid a private company to conduct a sonar search of the River Thames, using the same technology that's used to locate victims and important items at sea. During the search, no trace of Andrew was found, the search however managed to discover another body. In a podcast interview, Kevin mentioned that he wasn't aware on the outcome of the other body found, though hoped it provided answers for the victim's family. An interview with Kevin and a sonar technology expert discussing the search and technology used was featured on the BBC's show 'Missing' in 2011.
In 2016, Gosden's parents appealed for information on Panorama, the BBC's flagship current affairs television programme.
On 12 September 2017, it was announced that police were launching a fresh appeal.To mark the tenth anniversary of Andrew's disappearance, the charity Missing People made Gosden the face of their 'Find Every Child' campaign, with Gosden featuring on billboards and advertisements throughout the United Kingdom.
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