THE mum of a missing dad says she remains hopeful he will return despite three agonising years without sight of him.
This Sunday marks the third anniversary of the last time Hartlepool man Scott Fletcher was seen.
Despite a huge police appeal and an ongoing investigation into his disappearance, his family remain desperate for answers.
His mum Julie, who lives on the Bishop Cuthbert estate, said the anniversary is usually a time to make sure “no one is alone” and that the family usually go out as sitting at home thinking about Scott is too painful.
And she added that his daughter Lucie, now seven, still asks for her dad and the Fens Primary School pupil even fears that as she has grown in the past three years, her dad could walk past her and not recognise her.
Julie, said: “On the anniversary, we always stick together as a family and make sure no one’s on their own.
“We have been talking about going out for a meal on the Sunday – we hate being in the house on the day he went missing.
“It’s not easy – we can’t just sit here, it’s just too upsetting.”
She added that the time between February and May has been a “bad spell” for the family for the past three years, as the period includes Lucie’s birthday, Mother’s Day and Scott’s birthday.
He turned 30 on April 21.
Julie, whose ordeal is thought to have triggered a brain haemorrhage last September and is now back working at a town school on a phased return, added: “It’s not easy for Lucie at all, it’s not easy for any of us. “She stays on a weekend and she talks about her dad all the time.
“The best thing I could wish for is to see her face when her dad comes home.
“I have reassured her that people are trying to find him and we haven’t forgotten about him.”
She said the police are still looking for Scott and that an appeal had recently been in Traveller Times, and PCSOs had been out on Tuesday handing out flyers to jog people’s memories and that the Missing People charity were doing “a tremendous amount for us”.
But Julie added: “She did say ‘do you think now I’ve grown he might walk past me and not recognise me?’
“But I said ‘never in a million years, he will always recognise you, he loves you very much’.
“We haven’t given up hope entirely.
“With logic you would think after three years he would have contacted us.
“He is such a good father to his kids and he wouldn’t be away from them.
“You think ‘something must have happened’.
“But then you’ve got to keep that bit of hope that he is somewhere.
“But there’s just absolutely nothing.
“For the sake of the family we just need to know he is safe.”
Scott was last seen at 8.20pm on May 11, 2011, in the lay-by opposite the Jet garage on the A181 at Wheatley Hill.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Detective Superintendent Jon Green on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.