DUBAI An anonymous benefactor has offered a cash reward for finding missing UK sailor Timmy MacColl, whose pregnant wife suspects he may have been kidnapped after vanishing from Dubai in May.
The identity of the person offering the “substantial cash reward” has not been made public — it’s understood the payout will be made through MacColl’s family for information leading to his whereabouts.
Timmy has been badly let down by all involved. He is a serviceman, serving Queen and Country, and his family have not been updated properly...We need to know far more and Timmy has a right to be brought home
The seaman’s 25-year-old wife Rachael said he may have been a target owing to his “high-tech” work aboard a British ship involved in anti-piracy and anti-narcotics efforts.
Father-of-two MacColl, 27, was last seen being helped by colleagues into a taxi outside the Rock Bottom Cafe in Bur Dubai’s Regent Palace Hotel around 2am on May 27.
According to initial reports, the taxi driver was paid an advance in cash to take MacColl back to his ship, the HMS Westminster docked then at Port Rashid.
This line of inquiry states the driver claimed MacColl stepped out of the taxi as he stopped near a tea stall in the port to ask for directions.
Rachael has said there is no conclusive evidence to prove that this is how the story unfolded. She said there is no security camera footage showing MacColl entering a cab.
Earlier it was reported that MacColl was escorted out by bouncers after he fell asleep in the bar. There had also been a mix-up about what he was reported to be wearing then.
Rachael visited Dubai to follow up on investigations and launch appeals. Subsequent land and underwater sea searches turned up nothing. MacColl’s ship returned to the UK this week.
His family has intensified online campaigns to press for a deeper probe in the case. One internet petition asks the British government to “debate the failure of the UK military and find Timmy MacColl”.
Writing on the petitioning website, change.org, Rachael’s grandmother Brenda Cunningham said: ‘Timmy has been badly let down by all involved. He is a serviceman, serving Queen and Country, and his family have not been updated properly...We need to know far more and Timmy has a right to be brought home'.
A UK Defence Ministry statement said the matter is being treated as a missing person case.
“The Dubai Police have primacy for the investigation into MacColl’s disappearance and search. The Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy continue to liaise with and provide assistance to the Dubai authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also remains in contact with the Emirati police about their ongoing investigation,” the statement said.
MacColl’s ship arrived at Portsmouth Naval Base in the UK on Monday. Out of respect for MacColl, shipmates left a gap as they lined up on the deck.