Police search for missing Sunderland grandfather Robert Hutchinson continues 10 years on

It has been 10 years since he vanished without a trace. But police say they are still determined to find out what happened to Sunderland grandad Robert Hutchinson.

Warehouse worker Robert was last seen leaving his home, on Corporation Road, in Hendon, Sunderland, at around 6.20pm on Monday June 23, 2014. His car was found parked in Stewart Street, not far from Sunderland city centre on July 3. Two weeks later, police revealed they were treating his disappearance as murder.

But 57-year-old Robert's body has never been found. And today his disappearances remains as mysterious as it was a decade ago. However, Northumbria Police has confirmed that the investigation into Robert's murder has not been closed. And on this milestone anniversary the force has renewed its plea for anyone with information to come forward.

A spokeswoman said: "At this key milestone, our thoughts remain with Robert’s family. The investigation is not closed and we remain committed to establishing the circumstances of his disappearance. We will continue to act on any new lines of enquiry or information. If anybody knows anything that they feel would assist in our ongoing investigation, then I would urge them to come forward."

Over the years both police and Robert's family have made repeated pleas for information and a reward of £10,000 has also been offered by the charity Crimestoppers in a bid to get to the truth. Several people have also been arrested as part of the investigation, but all were later told they would face no further police action.

Police also spent hours searching a disused church building near Robert’s home, which the dad had been renovating. But still no answers were found.

Robert's daughter Paula has previously told the Chronicle of her anguish at not knowing what happened to her dad. And the mum said she even turned detective herself in a bid to get to the truth.

In 2019 she said: "I have been doing a bit of my own investigating. I have asked all around his friends and I have asked family. I found out about people he's known that I didn't know. But it's come to nowt. I have found out about people he's known and been involved with.

"There's been nothing. There's been no new information at all. I just don't know what to believe because he's not here to tell me himself."

Paula Hutchinson
CCTV of Robert Hutchinson from Sunderland at the Asda filling station, in Grangetown, captured on the afternoon of Monday June 23

Paula said she last saw her dad just hours before he disappeared when he gave her a lift home from the bingo. She said Robert had been his usual happy self when she left him. She told him she would call in to see him after dropping her son at school, as she did most days. And she admitted she believed he must be dead.

"I have got no theories. He was just so closed off," she said. "He was my dad but he didn't tell us much about his life. When I was with him we were always talking about my son I haven't got a clue what's happened to him and I don't think the police have got a clue.

"I do believe he has been killed, and that he's not coming back, but we are still in limbo. I can't move forward. I don't believe he's coming back. But I can't grieve until someone actually tells me he's gone. It's just so strange that someone can just vanish like that."

Anyone with information about Robert's disappearance should contact Northumbria Police