Andrew Gosden – vanished without a trace

Andrew Gosden was 14 when he went missing in 2007.  One major theory in his case was that he chose to run away and there was some evidence to support this.  But in 2021, 14 years after he disappeared, two men were charged with suspicion of kidnap and human trafficking in relation to Andrew’s case. As of October 2022, Andrew remains missing.

Andrew Paul Gosden was born on 10 July 1993.  He lived with his parents Kevin and Glenys, and his sister Charlotte in Balby, which is a suburb of Doncater, South Yorkshire in England.

Andrew was studying at McAuley Catholic High School at the time.

Andrew has been described by his family as a quiet, gentle and extremely intelligent boy.  Andrew’s father has also described him as absent-minded, not streetwise and potentially vulnerable.  He was a ‘deep character’ who did not get worked up.  

Andrew took part in the government’s Young, Gifted & Talented Programme for high-achieving students.  He had a 100% attendance record at school.  He was also a prize winning mathematician.  He planned to attend Cambridge University 

He liked reading – his favorite books were The Lord of the Rings and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He enjoyed playing computer games and he enjoyed his music: Slipknot, Muse and Funeral for a Friend were among his favourite bands.

His family have said that Andrew was a ‘home bird’ who never left the house without telling them where he was going.  They have also said that he was happy in his own company but had a small group of close friends at school.  He did not seem to socialize much outside of the school environment. 

Andrew’s nickname was Roo and he is said to have been small for his age.  He wore strong prescription glasses and is deaf in his left ear.  He also has a distinctive double ridge on his right ear.  

One of Andrew’s favourite TV shows was The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, which is about a man who fakes his own death to start a new life.

On September 14, 2007 which was a Friday, the family were about to sit down for dinner.  His parents and Charlotte thought that Andrew was in the cellar of their home, gaming.  This was his usual routine and wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary.  

When they called out to him to come and eat and he didn’t emerge, they went to check on him.  They found his school blazer and tie hanging over the back of a chair and his shirts and trousers were in the washing machine.  

They began calling around and discovered that Andrew had not been to school that day.  

Years later, in 2017, Charlotte spoke to the media about discovering that Andrew was missing.  “It was just a complete panic. We initially thought something must have happened on the way to school.

“When we found that he hadn’t even been to school – even tried to go to school – that was even more worrying.”

The family tried to file a missing person report with the South Yorkshire Police.  Kevin Gosden has said the police’s handling of the investigation was “too slow, too chaotic and disorganised”.

There was no real way to track Andrew via phone.  He had owned phones in the past but had lost them.  He was given a new phone for his 12th birthday and ended up losing that one.  When his parents offered to replace it, he said he would prefer a new Xbox instead.

Andrew’s parents have said that in the days before his disappearance, he did break his usual routine twice  (he was only 8 days into the new school year at the time he vanished).    He told his parents that he had walked home from school instead of taking the bus.  This was a 4 mile or 6.4km journey that would have taken him around 80 minutes, one way, to walk.

His father has said that the night before Andrew left was uneventful.  They did a puzzle together for an hour and then he watched some comedy shows on TV with his mother.

Andrew’s mother has said that on the day he disappeared, Andrew seemed irritable and that he had trouble getting moving for the day.  She said that was unusual for him.

The family learned that at 8.05am on September 14, Andrew left home dressed in his school uniform and was seen walking across the local park to his bus stop.  He was seen by a family friend.   

 Andrew’s family were the ones who tracked down CCTV footage of Andrew walking from his home on that day.  He deviated from his usual route and routine and he went to a cash machine/ATM near a local garage (gas station).  He took out 200 pounds which was almost all of his money (he had 214 pounds but the machine would only dispense 20 pound notes).  

After he got the money, he then walked back home, put his uniform into the wash and got changed into black jeans and a Slipknot t-shirt.  He was also wearing trainers, a watch on his left wrist and was carrying a black canvas satchel that had rock and metal band patches on it.

He also took his wallet, keys and his Playstation Portable.  He did not seem to take the charger for the PSP, and he didnt take a coat or sweater either.  His parents found his passport in the home after he vanished, as well as 100 pounds in cash that he had saved up.

At 8.30am, Andrew can be seen leaving his home again.  He walked to Doncaster railway station and purchased a one-way ticket to London which cost 31 pounds and 40 pence.  The ticket seller later told police that she told Andrew that a return ticket was only 50 pence more but that he said he only wanted the one-way ticket.

At 9.35am, Andrew got on the train to Kings Cross station. He was alone.  A woman sat next to him and she told police that he was quiet and was engrossed in his PSP. 

When Andrew did not show up at school, his teachers did try to contact his parents.  They left a message on the phone number that they had in their system.  Something went wrong though and they dialled the wrong number and left a message on the wrong person’s phone.  What a perfect storm of bad circumstances.

Andrew arrived in Kings Cross at 11.20am.  The last known sighting of him was on CCTV leaving the station at 11.25am. 

Within three hours of Andrew’s disappearance, his family had produced missing person posters.  They looked for him until it got dark.  

It took police three days to confirm that Andrew had travelled to London.  They did this after they spoke to the ticket seller.  Andrew’s father has said that he didnt think it was weird that Andrew only purchased a one-way ticket as he apparently knew many people in London that he could have stayed with.  This seems weird to me but his family had an early theory that he went to London to see the sights.  He had been there many times with family members and he enjoyed going to museums and exhibitions.  He was also very confident in using public transport in the city.  Travel on buses was free for children at the time, so he could have used that method of transportation easily. 

It took police three weeks to pick Andrew out of the CCTV at the train station. 

Andrew’s family and the police started to look into the possibility that Andrew had gone to London to meet someone who he had met online.  There was no real evidence of this that they could find.  His family have said that he did not use the computer at home (the only computer belonged to his sister and she had only had it for 8 weeks), and that he had no online accounts for either his Xbox or PSP.  They have also said he didn’t have an email address.  

Police searched computers from Andrew’s school and the local library and they found there was no trace of any activity by Andrew.

They also sent the serial number of the PSP to Sony.  It was found that there was no record of any account being set up for the device or any communication being sent from it.  

Andrew’s sister Charlotte has said that he did not seem interested in social media or connecting with anyone online as he ‘just didn’t seem social.’

Andrew was very into music and his family looked into concerts that were happening in London at the time that he might have traveled to attend.  Thirty Seconds to Mars played at the Brixton academy on the night he disappeared, and SikTh played a show at the Carling Academy.  The Carling Academy is within walking distance from Kings Cross station.  It was originally scheduled to be held at 4pm (Weird time) and was a unique event as it was going to be the last show with the band’s original vocalist.  

Police believed that Andrew may have been travelling to attend the SikTh show and they appealed for anyone who had attended the gig and may have photos of Andrew in the background to come forward.

Along these lines, Andrew’s father said that he initially suspected Andrew may have gone to London to do something and that he would ‘seek forgiveness later rather than ask permission.’

By the time that Andrew had been missing for one year, 122 possible sightings had been recorded.  These came from all over Britain – 45 were in London and 11 were in Brighton.  Kevin has said there were 2 or 3 sightings in the first week that seemed credible.  

There were some reported sightings of Andrew at a Pizza Hut and at Covent Garden but the police were slack to follow these leads up.  The Pizza Hut was on Oxford Street which is around 2.6 miles or 4km and one hours walk from the train station. The woman who reported the Covent Garden sighting was not interviewed for over 6 weeks.  She told police she had spoken to a boy and said that he looked like a child she had seen on TV that was missing.  This person denied being Andrew.

There were other alleged sightings of Andrew on Oxford Street.  One was from Monday 17 September, and he was also apparently sighted the following day, sleeping in a park.  There were other sightings from as far as South Wales.

In November 2008, a man went to a police station in the West Midlands.  I believe they had an intercom system there as the station was unmanned at the time.  The man spoke to an officer via the intercom and said he had information about Andrew.  A police officer traveled to the station to talk to the man, but he was gone.  

Police appealed for the man to get back in touch with them.  Someone then wrote anonymously to the BBC and said that he had seen Andrew in Shrewsbury in November 2008.  It is not known if the man and the author are the same person.

One theory that has been discussed at length is that Andrew may have possibly been gay or struggling with his sexuality.  His parents are said to be ‘committed Anglican Christians’.  They had not baptised their children though as they didn’t want to impose their views on them.  I guess it was floated that Andrew may have been too embarrassed to raise the issue of his sexuality (if it was an issue).  

Kevin said:  “We are a pretty open family so have wondered if he was gay or struggling with his sexual identity and found it too awkward to raise. If he is gay, we do not have any issue with it, he is loved unconditionally by both my wife and I and his sister.”

In 2011, the family paid for a private company to search the River Thames.  They used sonar and found another body, but no trace of Andrew was found.

Over the years, the Gosden family have tried hard to keep Andrew’s face in the media and to keep raising awareness for his case.  In 2017, Andrew was the face of the charity Missing People for their ‘Find Every Child. Campaign.  He was featured on billboards and ads throughout the country.

To mark the 10 year anniversary, police made some more appeals.  They revealed they have been looking into prescriptions for glasses that were similar to what Andrew would have required.  They also conducted regular checks to make sure a new passport had not been issued for Andrew.  This implied that they believed Andrew may have still been alive.  They also checked National Insurance for any activity.

In 2018, someone sent info in about a conversation they had with a person named ‘Andy Roo’.  The person said their boyfriend had left them and they needed money to cover rent.  Someone offered to send them money and Andy Roo said they did not have a bank account as they ‘left home when they were 14.’  Police looked into this but the person has never been identified.

Andrew’s family have said they have kept his room how they left it and they have never changed the locks because Andrew is thought to have taken his keys with him.  There has been no activity on his bank account since he withdrew the 200 pounds on 14 September 2007.

On December 8, 2021 a HUGE break was made in the case.  Police arrested two men, aged 38 and 45 in regards to Andrew’s case.  They were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and human trafficking.  The 45 year old was also arrested on a charge of posession of child pornography.  This means the older man would have been around 31 and the younger 24 at the time Andrew disappeared.

At the end of January 2022, police released another update.  Both men had been released pending further investigation and they both had devices seized from them.  A police spokesperson said “”We can confirm we have seized numerous devices from the men which we expect to take between six and 12 months to analyse. We will provide proactive updates as soon as we have them.”

Detective Inspector Andy Knowles said: “Our priority at this time is supporting Andrew’s family while we work through this new line of enquiry in the investigation. We are in close contact with them and they ask that their privacy is respected as our investigation continues.

“We have made numerous appeals over the years to find out where Andrew is and what happened to him when he disappeared. I would encourage anyone with any information they have not yet reported to come forward.”

Andrew’s dad Kevin gave a statement following the developments:

“Obviously some fairly nasty scenarios start to play in your head but we put that to one side because it’s still under investigation and worrying doesn’t get you anywhere.”


One thought on “Andrew Gosden – vanished without a trace

  1. I have followed this case from day 1. I even got in touch with a You Tuber to get in touch with Kevin and do an interview, which he did. I think Andrew was taken by 2 men that day. Why did he go to London? was he being groomed, tjought he was meeting someone his age in London?. The 2 men who were arrested in 2021 were let go. Ive not heard anymore about them. The police seized computers etc, which they said would take 5 to 6 months to check. It has been 10 months now, and no word. I fear there will be no final end to this case.

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