Grieving father releases unseen pictures of his daughter 18 years after she vanished aged 24

A grieving father has revealed his heartbreak as he continues to search for answers following the disappearance of his daughter almost 18 years ago while on holiday in Germany. 

The case of missing student nurse Louise Kerton, from Broadstairs, Kent, has frustrated police and private investigators since she went missing in 2001, aged 24.

And now, in a bid to find out what happened, her father Phil has released new photographs of his missing daughter.

The candid snaps show Louise enjoying family life as she plays on the beach with relatives and relishes in a peaceful dinner at home. 

Louise had been studying to be a nurse when she went to stay with her fiance Peter Simon and his mother Ramana in Strassfeld, near Bonn.   

The 24-year-old was supposed to board a train at Aachen Station on July 30 and then go via the Belgian port of Ostend to return to the flat she and Mr Simon shared in Broadstairs, Kent.

But Louse never made it home, with some assuming she had an accident, and others suggesting she could have fallen victim to French serial killer Michel Fourniret, nicknamed the Ogre of Ardennes. 

He was jailed for life for raping and murdering nine girls between 1987 and 2001 and is suspected of killing more.

Mr Kerton, of New Ash Green, Kent, said the case still affected his family even now, explaining: ‘We still miss her, even today. That never fades.

‘It affects everybody differently. The way one person copes with it is not necessarily in the least helpful to another person.

‘One thing we are all in agreement on is that we want to know what happened.’

But Mr Kerton, who lost his wife Kath to stomach cancer in 2010, said his family live in hope.

‘There is always hope we will one day find out where she is,’ he added. ‘We live in hope that that day will come.’

Ms Kerton had been living in the seaside town of Broadstairs with her half-German fiance, care worker Peter Simon.

She chose to spend a long summer holiday with Mr Simon’s family overseas after failing her last year of nursing training.

The Kertons received a final letter apparently from their daughter, dated July 20, 2001, telling them: ‘It is very beautiful here with all the trees and the flowers.’

And mentioning her nursing course, she added: ‘I am keeping an open mind about everything to do with the nursing and I am sure all will turn out well in the end.’

Mr Simon returned to the UK two days before his fiancee, telling investigators he had to come back early to accept a delivery as the pair were renovating their flat.

But when he went to collect her from Dover, she was not on the boat.

Private investigator Bob Moffat – a former senior homicide detective – was drafted in in late 2001 by Mr Kerton to look at the case and visited Germany.

He says he is now throwing open his files in the hope that any extra information will help solve the case.

In his opinion, there are several lines of inquiry that should be re-investigated.

Mr Moffat said: ‘It is 18 years this year since Louise disappeared and I would very much love some closure for her family.

‘It has always been a case that stayed with me and I kept all the files because I have always felt that one day it will be solved.

‘I am certain that Louise is dead. However it would be a great breakthrough to find out exactly how that came to occur.’

Mr Moffat and his colleague Dai Davies, a former head of royal protection, travelled to Germany to look into Ms Kerton’s last movements in November 2001.

There, they found several things that struck them, including that there had hardly been any sightings of Louise in Strassfeld despite the fact she had told friends she was keen to see the local sights.

The Simon family never cooperated with them, refusing to even open the door let alone answer questions.

Statements reveal that Peter Simon telephoned Louise’s family home when he discovered she was missing and during a rambling conversation told her sister that she had a bad character and had been sleeping around.

A disabled woman who lived with the Simons in Germany was never questioned.

There was no CCTV of Peter’s mother Ramana dropping Louise at Aachen Station, which she said was because she hadn’t pulled into the car park. 

And Peter Simon’s older brother Michael – who had lived next door to the pair in Broadstairs but was in Germany that summer – was never interviewed either, despite the fact he suffered from schizophrenia and was acquitted of murdering a woman with a champagne bottle in Kent eight years earlier.

The Kerton family were repeatedly left frustrated with police inaction. 

It was only in 2002 that detectives in Kent persuaded their German counterparts to treat the case as a potential criminal investigation.

However no trace of Ms Kerton has ever come to light and no-one has seen her since Mrs Simon said she dropped her at Aachen Station on the day she vanished.

The case was made particularly frustrating because police were unable to pinpoint exactly where she had disappeared.  

As memories have now faded, Mr Kerton and Mr Moffat believe their only hope is that Ms Kerton’s body will one day be found.

Mr Kerton’s wife Kath sadly died of stomach cancer in 2010.

Kent Police said they have done all they can and the case was closed by German police in 2011 because they were unable to prove that a crime had been committed.  

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