'Help me find my daughter': Mother's plea to Foreign Secretary three years on from Brit Sarm Heslop’s disappearance

20 March 2024, 06:42

Sarm Heslop's mother Brenda Street (left) has called on David Cameron to help find her daughter (right).
Sarm Heslop's mother Brenda Street (left) has called on David Cameron to help find her daughter (right). Picture: Supplied

By Joseph Draper

The mother of a British woman who vanished from her boyfriend’s boat in the US Virgin Islands has appealed to David Cameron to help find her daughter.

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Brenda Street spoke to LBC following the third anniversary of Sarm Heslop’s disappearance off the island of St John in March 2021.

She accused the island police - the VIPD - of negligence after they failed to search the luxury catamaran where Ms Heslop lived with her American partner Ryan Bane and wants the force to treat her daughter’s disappearance as a murder investigation.

It comes days after local media reported that the force had referred Ms Heslop’s case to the attorney general on the island.

Her loved ones claim the VIPD has ignored their requests for clarification – describing its decision to release the update to the local press without first informing them as “appalling”.

Read more: Parents of missing Brit Sarm Heslop plead for answers from boyfriend

Sarm Heslop
Sarm Heslop. Picture: Supplied

Speaking from her home in Ongar in Essex, Ms Street said she believes Ms Heslop is dead.

She said: “I know she's not coming home, but I don't know how to grieve.

“We don’t have the answers we need. I’m hoping one day we can bring her home and put her to rest.

“It's not just me and her father Peter, but all her friends have put their lives on hold for three years – they won’t stop until they get justice.”

Ms Street said her daughter, then aged 41, moved to St John after falling in love with Mr Bane who she met on a dating app.

Brenda Street
Brenda Street. Picture: Supplied

The pair lived and worked on his catamaran the Siren Song, taking tourists on boat tours around the idyllic Caribbean island, for three weeks until Mr Bane called the police in the early hours of March 8, 2021, reporting that he had awoken to find her missing.

Police failed to search his boat, which the family say might have held vital clues about the former air hostess’ fate.

Instead, he was allowed to “sail away into the sunset”, according to former Met Police homicide commander David Johnston who is advising the family.

He believes the VIPD’s failure to act in the so-called 'golden hours' - the first 48 hours after someone goes missing – amounted to serious negligence and will make it more difficult to find out what happened to Ms Heslop.

Read more: Eton College pupil, 17, ‘dies after collapsing on pitch during field game just yards away from his father’

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Sarm Heslop
Sarm Heslop. Picture: Supplied

Mr Johnston said the police had shown a “total lack of respect to the family” by ignoring their requests for information.

He said: “Ryan Bane was never asked to give an account of how his girlfriend disappeared off the boat by the police.

“Given that's the last place that she was seen alive, that boat should not have been allowed to leave the area without being thoroughly searched.”

He called for Mr Cameron to meet with Ms Street and to put pressure on US authorities to be more transparent about the investigation into Ms Heslop’s death, adding: “We can't have British citizens just disappearing around the world and nobody doing anything about it.”

Ryan Bane
Ryan Bane. Picture: Find Sarm

The VIPD did not respond to LBC’s request for comment but local media on the island quoted a spokesperson saying there are “no updates” in the investigation, adding that the case had been referred to the attorney general.

Mr Bane's lawyer said his client has been left heartbroken by Ms Heslop’s disappearance and that he fully cooperated with the authorities - including by allowing the coastguard “unfettered” access to his boat.

Mr Bane denies any involvement in Ms Heslop’s disappearance.

The FCDO has also been approached for comment.

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