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Wales Online
Wales Online
Sue Kirby & Miriam Goodman & Stephanie Wareham

Family's heartache after man entered public toilet and vanished - 30 years ago

The family of a man who vanished after entering a public toilet have shared their pain as they mark 30 years since the beloved son and brother disappeared. Steven Clark was just 23 when he went missing after going into the public toilets on the seafront at Saltburn, North Yorkshire, on December 28, 1992.

His family's agony was made even worse in 2020 when Steven's disappearance prompted the launch of a murder investigation following a cold case review - and his parents Doris and Charles were arrested. The devastated pair were later released without charge and an ITV documentary, called 'Accused of Murdering Our Son - The Steven Clark Story' aired, revealing the elderly couple's ordeal.

Steven's sister Victoria spoke at length with TeessideLive, sharing her hopes that her beloved brother will one day soon "walk through the door" after three decades of agony. She said his disappearance has been a "living nightmare" for the whole family, adding that her parents' arrest has had a huge emotional impact on them.

Victoria said the police did "very little" to support her family when Stephen, from Marske, initially went missing. She said they were portrayed as a "violent family" and police were "determined to put a slur on us".

The family is working with the charity Missing People to relaunch the search for Steven in the hopes of finally finding him. "Steven going missing has been a living nightmare for all of us," Victoria said.

"At the time, when Steven went missing, the police did very little to support us. To put us through this trauma instead of focusing on finding Steven has been extremely damaging and a total misuse of resource.

"Our relationship as a family was love-filled, Steven and I couldn't have wished for a happier childhood."

Victoria wants to use her brother's 30th missing anniversary as an opportunity to re-introduce him to the public and open up about his character and life leading up to him going missing. Steven was born in the UK and grew up in South Africa. Victoria said: "As a result of his disability, we spent a lot of time in and out of hospital where he had various treatment and physiotherapy."

She said despite his disability, Steven was dedicated to continuing his life as normally as possible, taking on multiple hobbies and he had an active social life. She said: "He loved playing his baritone euphonium and played in a band and an orchestra, he was a great swimmer and loved computing and IT.

Steven's family are desperate to find him (Submitted)

"He was also at college studying and had a girlfriend at the time he went missing. Steven loved listening to music and especially loved The Carpenters. He enjoyed watching football and was an avid Arsenal fan. He had a great sense of humour… an infectious laugh – you couldn't help but laugh when being around him."

In 1990 the family decided to move back to the UK to give Steven a chance of a better life. The family initially lived in Guildford, before settling in North Yorkshire. Despite remaining in Guildford where she had a job, Victoria said she and Steven remained close, writing to each other and meeting up as often as possible. Then suddenly he wasn't there.

Victoria said: "In the early days, there was always one of us in the house whilst other family members were searching. I had never seen my dad cry until this moment. It was an emotional time and so difficult to feel so helpless. We felt desperation. Even years later, I am constantly looking in crowds.

"I was driving a couple of months ago when I saw a man walking with a limp. I took a double take – and burst into tears, the grief can come out of nowhere, even when you’re least expecting it.

"Special holidays were especially difficult for the family. We didn't celebrate Christmas for about eight years. No decorations, no joy, it just felt wrong without Steven being there."

Doris and Charles Clark, Steven's parents (Andy Commins/Daily Mirror)

She said: "Someone, somewhere, must know something. Any small detail, even if you think it is insignificant could prove to be an important lead. Dealing with ambiguous loss is a life sentence. The constant, painful limbo of not knowing is a horrible thing to live with. We still hope that he will walk through the door one day, but we appreciate that as each year passes it becomes more and more unlikely. We just want to know what happened."

Missing People have set up a web appeal page for Steven and anyone can visit or share it. Anyone who has any information - no matter how small - can contact Missing People’s Helpline on 116 000 or email

At the time of his disappearance, Steven was described as white European, 6ft 3in with a medium build, blue eyes, dark brown hair. He has a physical disability giving him the appearance of someone with cerebral palsy, meaning he couldn't use his left arm and walked with a limp.

Steven was last seen wearing a maroon crew neck jumper, a navy-blue parka with fur hood, blue denim jeans, and grey trainers.

Detective Chief Inspector Shaun Page, of Cleveland Police, said: "We currently have no active lines of enquiry on this case, however, we will always continue to respond to intelligence and information which may help us to locate Steven. If people do have information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, then I would urge them to contact police via 101 or contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on or call 0800 555 111."

Missing People’s Publicity Officer, Ndella Senghore, said: “If anyone has any information about Steven’s disappearance, they can contact Missing People’s Helpline. Steven, if you are reading this, please get in touch. You can call us on 116 000 or email Our service is non-judgemental, confidential, and free thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We just want to provide you with the support you need and help you to be safe."

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