THE body of a man with family in Hartlepool is believed to have been found in Australian bushland six weeks after he vanished.
Gary Tweddle – nephew of town woman Joanne Tweddle – went missing in the Blue Mountains suburb of Leura, where he had been attending a work conference in the early hours of July 16.
The 23-year-old British-born computer sales representative, from Cremorne on Sydney’s north shore, went for a walk and later telephoned work colleagues to say he was lost.
His disappearance sparked a huge search party of 1,000 people, which included Gary’s Hartlepool-born dad David Tweddle, who is Joanne’s husband’s brother.
David was accompanied by Gary’s step-mum Michelle, who both travelled Down Under from Britain, along with the missing man’s mum Carol and partner Clive, who came from Queensland.
Yesterday it was revealed that an ambulance rescue helicopter reported seeing a body in bushland near a rock climb known as Sweet Dreams at Leura.
Blue mountains crime manager Mick Bostock said police rescue officers would climb down a steep rock face to retrieve the body at dawn today.
Mr Tweddle’s family are said to have been informed and were waiting anxiously for confirmation police had found his body. Police filed a report to the coroner declaring his disappearance as an accidental death last Wednesday.
Joanne, who works at Asda, in Marina Way, Hartlepool, said she was shocked to hear the news.
“I don’t really know what to say except at least something has possibly been found so it isn’t dragged out any further,” she said. “Our thoughts go out to our family in Australia, it’s a very sad time.”
Gary’s grandparents Phoebe and Dev Tweddle were landlords of two town pubs over 40 years ago – the Owton Manor Lodge pub, in Seaton Lane, Hartlepool, and also the old North Eastern pub, off Church Street.
Gary’s dad married Carole Tweddle and lived in the Newcastle area for a time but moved around the country a lot due to him being in the Army. The pair split and Carole moved with her family, including Gary who was aged around 11-years-old at the time, to Australia.
Other members of Gary’s family in England publicised his disappearance on social-networking site Facebook.