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Missing persons in Scotland: Can you help solve these nine cases in the north and north-east?

A collage of missing persons in Scotland
Clockwise from top left: Goffredo Bondanelli, James Paton, Richard Woolley, Donald Chalmers, Nusrat Jahan, and Shaun Ritchie.

Among the hundreds of people who are reported missing every year across Scotland, all but a few dozen are traced safe and well.

However, for every investigation that does not come to a well-defined conclusion, there is a family and group of friends who are desperate for any answers.

On Police Scotland’s Missing Persons page, there are several unsolved long-term cases focused on the north and north-east.

They stretch geographically from Fort William to Stonehaven to Papa Westray on Orkney, dating as far back as four decades ago.

The available information on each of the cases also varies widely – but any detail on these missing persons cases in Scotland that may stir a memory or spark recognition is valuable.

If your loved one is missing, or you’d like to issue a fresh appeal, contact The Press and Journal via livenews@ajl.co.uk


Missing persons in Scotland: Have you seen them?

Goffredo Bondanelli

Goffredo Bondanelli.

German national Goffredo Bondanelli was last seen in Fort William on Tuesday, May 3 2016.

He was boarding a train to Lochailort, where he was going to undertake a five-day hike east towards Glenfinnan. Police Scotland’s website describes his route as being 76km (around 47 miles) despite the two places being less than 10 miles apart.

Experienced hillwaker Mr Bondanelli would have been camping overnight on hills and Corbetts including Coire na Cnamha, Lochan Feith Easian and Sgurr an Utha, and may have walked alongside the A830 Fort William to Mallaig road for a stretch.

He was well-equipped for the hike, carrying a green tent and a dark rucksack visible in CCTV footage from before he started the hike.

A CCTV image of Goffredo Bondanelli.

He is around 5ft 10ins, with dark and grey hair and an athletic build.

Police are particularly keen to speak to those who were walking or taking part in any outdoor activities in the Lochaber/Argyll area between May 3 and 8 2016, when Mr Bondanelli was on his walk.

James Paton

To go with story by Craig Munro. There are nine missing persons cases focused on the north and north-east listed on the Police Scotland website. Picture shows; James Paton. Unknown. Supplied by Police Scotland Date; Unknown

James Paton was last seen driving his silver Dacia Duster at Ruttle Woods, east of his home in Beauly, at around 1.30pm on December 23, 2019. He was going to walk his dog.

At 4.30pm the same day, his car was found in the area with his spaniel-collie cross dog still inside – but there was no trace of Mr Paton.

More than 100 community members joined Dundonell Mountain Rescue Team, Inverness coastguard helicopter 151, and dog handlers from Police Scotland and Sarda Scotland to spend the festive season combing the dense forest at Fanellan.

A CCTV image of James Paton.

Mr Paton, known as Jim to his family and friends, wears glasses and is white, 5ft 8ins with a stocky build with grey hair and a beard.


Can you help with these missing people?

Police Scotland works with the Missing People Charity – the only charity in the UK which specialises in bringing missing children and adults back together with their families.

They can be contacted via telephone on freephone 116 000 or by visiting the Missing People website and reporting a sighting.

Anyone with information that could assist police with their investigations can also call the non-emergency number 101.


Nusrat Jahan

Nusrat Jahan.

On July 27, 2017, Nusrat Jahan told her friend she was going for a walk on Aberdeen Beach after leaving her work at Marischal College at around 4pm.

The same friend reported her missing that evening, but despite a major search operation and numerous public appeals, there has been no trace of her.

Assisted by specialist support units such as a helicopter, dog unit, dive unit and mountain rescue, officers searched from Bridge of Don along the beach to the cliffs at Cove, and looked through Trinity Cemetery.

One line of inquiry is a woman in dark clothing who was seen climbing the wooden groynes opposite the Inversnecky Cafe at around 6.15pm – though police still do not know if it was Ms Jahan.

Peter Edwards

Peter Edwards.

There has not been a positive sighting of Peter Edwards, an associate pastor at the Perth Christian Fellowship, since he stepped off the Stagecoach X7 bus on Barclay Street in Stonehaven, at 3.20pm on November 1 2016.

He had boarded the same vehicle in Aberdeen at 2pm.

Police described his disappearance as “totally out of character”, causing his friends and family to be “extremely concerned and anxious”.

Mr Edwards, from Scone, had been seen on CCTV footage getting off the number seven bus on Perth’s Glasgow Road at 7.43am the morning of his disappearance.

Almost 30 months after he was last seen, his sister Chloe Bornstein said she believed he was still alive.

Richard Woolley

Richard Woolley.

Richard Woolley drove from his home in Nottingham to Lochinver on August 29 2020, and was due to arrive back in the English city a week later.

After renting some accommodation in the west coast village, it is understood he was going to be walking in the area – though his exact routes are not known.

Officers found his car at the car park of Stoer Lighthouse, and police specialist resources, mountain rescue and coastguard carried out coordinated searches of the area.

He is 5ft 11ins with a slim build, blue eyes and grey stubble.

Robert Adaway

Robert Adaway.

The missing person case of Robert Adaway is among the longest-running across Scotland.

On June 9 1982, the day he turned 18, Mr Adaway was given a shaving kit as a birthday present from his mother at their home on Princes Street in Thurso, and various friends and relatives spotted him around the town over the course of the day.

The family had planned a celebratory dinner that evening at a local hotel, but their son never turned up.

He was reported missing later that day. There were a number of possible sightings near roads around the Caithness area over the next few days, meaning he may have been hitch-hiking.

A cutting of a P&J article on Robert Adaway from around the time he went missing.

Described as solitary, but with a few close friends, Mr Adaway had recently left Thurso High School and was due to study at Glasgow University after the summer break.

The Northern Constabulary, as it was known then, checked coastlines, quarries, roads, railways and sea routes, but could not find any trace of the teenager.

He would now be 57.

Inspector Gavin Smith, of Police Scotland’s missing person unit, said: “Robert Adaway was a young man when he went missing from Thurso.

“Although that was over 30 years ago, the investigation will stay open until we resolve it, no matter how long that takes.”

Sergei Ivanov

Sergei Ivanov.

Russian-born artist Sergei Ivanov was 55 when he was reported missing from his home address on Papa Westray, Orkney.

He had last been seen walking on a road towards the south of Orkney on April 3, 2017.

It is understood he had moved to the island, one of the northernmost in the archipelago, ten years before his disappearance, and had been running the Papay Gyro Nights festival there.

Police and coastguard teams searched along the coastline and across the land, but no trace of him has been found.

William Ritchie

William Ritchie.

William Ritchie, more widely known as Bill, was reported missing by his concerned neighbours on January 14 2018 after they noticed he was not going about his standard daily routine.

Normally, the 90-year-old would walk around Fraserburgh almost daily and would regularly visit the local Asda, Co-op and Post Office.

A keen walker, he was known to travel long distances beyond the town and around the shore area.

His last known sighting was just before Christmas in 2017, when he was captured on the CCTV of Fraserburgh’s Asda store.

Just over six months after he was reported missing, police said they had exhausted all their leads – though they vowed to act on any fresh information.

Detective Inspector Stewart Drummond said: “I know that those who know Bill or even just recognise him to say hello have been anxious to know where he went, and it is extremely frustrating for us all not knowing exactly what has happened to him.

“We do know there were sightings of him in Fraserburgh in early January and our enquiries indicate that he was possibly unwell in the weeks leading up to his disappearance.”

Shaun Ritchie

Shaun Ritchie.

The disappearance of Shaun Ritchie from a remote farmhouse several miles from Fraserburgh on Halloween night 2014 sparked the biggest manhunt in Police Scotland history up to that point.

He had travelled in a van to Kersiehill Farm near Strichen with seven other people, just after 10pm.

According to witness statements, Mr Ritchie fled into the darkness following a disturbance in the van, just as the group arrived at their destination.

To mark the seventh anniversary of his disappearance, the Press & Journal released a 40-minute documentary with new interviews from friends, family, police and scientists.

You can watch it at the link below.

Missing from The Broch: Our documentary reveals new details surrounding Shaun Ritchie’s disappearance

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