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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Phoebe Fuller & Remy Greasley

Mum's nightmare after son never came home from Christmas party

A mum never saw her son again after saying goodbye to him before he headed to a Christmas party in Liverpool.

Phillip Fudge was 21-years-old when he travelled from Hull to Liverpool for a Christmas party at HMS Eaglet on Sunday, December 10 1995. He had planned to return home the following morning, but never did.

Since he disappeared, his mum Nadine spent 24 years searching for her son until her death in 2019. Phillip's sister Linda and his family have continued the search.

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Speaking to The Missing podcast, Linda described her mum, Nadine, as protective of her and her siblings. One of the reasons that she was so careful was that Philip's older brother, Darren, and his younger sister, Joanne, both had the condition hydrocephalus.

Philip had lived with his parents and four siblings in a home that his older sister, Linda, described as a "happy household". Linda said that she, Philip and their brother and two sisters lived on a large estate in the city, in a house with lots of love and care.

Linda said that Philip was a typical lad, enjoying football and "all the things that young boys did". She said that he had always been "incredibly caring" of his brother, Darren, who had wanted to do all the things that Philip did.

She added: "Because Philip was able-bodied and Darren wasn't, the care and the attention that Philip used to give him, to sort of take part in the things that he did, was just incredible", Linda said. "He would play with him, the toys, toy soldiers, football."

Recalling her last conversation with Philip, Linda said: "I don't remember the last time I saw him, I remember the last time I spoke to him. I used to go down to my mum's on a Tuesday evening and I'd spoken to Philip, because me and my mother were going to the shopping centre Meadowhall on the Monday to do some Christmas shopping and I'd asked him what he wanted for Christmas.

"It was decided I was just going to buy him a nice shirt to go out in, and just the usual conversation of 'go careful I'll speak to you soon' and that was the last conversation I had with him. So, that was the Tuesday, he went missing on the Saturday."

Philip had planned to attend a Christmas party at the HMS Eaglet, a Royal Navy base in Liverpool, that night. He and two friends, travelled up by car from Hull to Liverpool that day and they had plans to stay the night at a friend's house near the base.

But Philip's mum's world was tipped upside down the following morning, when the same friends called her to ask if she had heard from him. Despite having plans to spend the night with them, they had no idea where Philip was.

Linda added: "I'd got a phone call from my mother just to say that Philip hadn't arrived home after his night out in Liverpool and the people who he was with didn't know where he was and the alarm bells started ringing.

Philip's mum, Nadine, never stopped trying to find her son before she died in 2019 (Hull Daily Mail)

"He would have been back on the Sunday because, one thing I do remember, is he was meant to be driving over to the continent on Monday. The people who were also staying in the house didn't know where he was and, again, no mobile phones so there was no way of tracking anybody down or making calls."

Linda said that she had tried her hardest to reassure her mum, but was struggling to even believe her own words of reassurance - as she knew that this was desperately unlike Philip. She said: "He wouldn't have just walked off and not let anybody know where he was, as much as I said to my mum, 'don't worry I'm sure everything will be okay', it wasn't Philip, it just wasn't him to do something like that."

Later that morning, Linda and Nadine reported Philip missing to the police. Merseyside Police launched an investigation and one of the first things that they did was examine Philip's car, which was exactly where he had left it, in Liverpool; with his belongings inside.

Police quickly turned their attention to the party that he had attended at HMS Eaglet.

A security guard at the base was able to tell police that they had seen Philip getting into a taxi and leaving the base, along with two girls and a boy. However, as CCTV was switched off elsewhere on the base, there was no further information about where the taxi could have gone, or even what company it was.

At one point, police considered that Philip could have had too much to drink and fallen into the docks. So, the docks and miles of nearby coastline were searched - eventually turning up a body in the dry docks, but it was not Philip's.

As with many missing people's cases, the idea that Philip had taken his own life was also considered - but Nadine and Linda threw this theory out immediately. Linda said: "He didn't suffer with mood swings, he was just a joyous, full-of-life, happy person who had his whole life ahead of him.

"He was 21, he was doing what all 21-year-olds do, he was just enjoying life and he wasn't off the rails or somebody who would cause trouble anywhere, he was just genuinely a nice person who cared about people.

"He cared about his elder brother and younger sisters and cared about his family. The only time Philip was really distressed was when my parents separated, but he handled it as we all did."

Nadine was deeply tormented by the disappearance of her son. For years after his disappearance, the heartbroken mum would sleep on the sofa downstairs - instead of in her bedroom - so that she could hear if Philip knocked on the door or tried to come home.

Philip would now be 48 years old today and Missing People are still asking for any information that could help them to find him. If you have information about the whereabouts of Philip, or information that could help, contact Missing People using reference number 95-001285.

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