Why wasn’t Brian Smart found sooner? Police investigate how they searched for missing pensioner

PUBLISHED: 14:50 03 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:50 03 January 2017

Brian Smart

Brian Smart


Police had previously searched the woods where a dog walker found the pensioner’s remains

Police are investigating whether they could have done anything different in their search for pensioner Brian Smart.

The 85-year-old went missing in September 2015, and despite extensive searches using expert advisers, body recovery dogs and a police helicopter, officers failed to find any sign of the Abbey Wood resident.

His disappearance sparked a lengthy search from Met Police, with appeals from his family and a £10,000 reward offered to help find him.

On December 3 last year, a dog walker discovered human remains in Bostall Woods.

A further search took place and on Tuesday, December 13, a body was recovered.

Dental records confirmed the body as that of Mr Smart.

Following the discovery, Mr Smart’s son, Mark said: “We can finally lay him to rest, but it’s not good news that he’s been there for so long.”

A Met Police spokesperson said: “Given the size of Bostall Woods, the search had to be focused on particular areas.

“However, officers now know the location where Mr Smart was found was outside this area, in a part of the woods overgrown and not immediately accessible.

“In light of this, Greenwich borough will be looking at how the searches were conducted to learn if anything could have been done differently.

“This matter has not been referred to the Directorate of Professional Standards nor the Independent Police Complaints Commission.”

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