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Sixteen year old Damien Nettles went missing on 2nd November 1996 after a night out in Cowes. Almost twenty years later and his body has never been found and no one has ever been charged with his murder.
BBC Journalists Alys Harte and Bronagh Munro venture deeper into the Isle of Wight’s dark underbelly, unearthing evidence and sometimes conflicting accounts, with audiences drawn into the twists and turns of their gripping investigation.
Bronagh Munro said,
“After almost twenty years, no one has been able to crack the case of how a teenage boy simply disappeared on a small island. Closed doors, memory loss, half truths, deceit, denials. None of these would go away. But then again nor would we.”
Delving into the underbelly
Searching for clues and breakthroughs, Alys and Bronagh work closely with Damien’s family and encounter an extraordinary array of characters, from Damien’s friends to local residents, private investigators, possible witnesses, police informants and convicted criminals who could have vital information.
Alys Harte said,
“We had to wade through almost twenty years of rumour, speculation and lies. Some stories have been retold so many times that they have become part of the mythology of the Isle of Wight. Deciphering fact from fiction was our greatest challenge.”
Valerie Nettles: Looking “at my son’s case through new eyes”
Damien’s mother, Valerie Nettles,
“The last twenty years has been a struggle. We never felt Damien went off on his own for any reason. We have always felt something bad happened. Not knowing for sure has been the worst possible part.
“I was totally impressed at the level of investigation of the Unsolved team. I threw everything I had and more at them to cipher through. Now I am able to look at my son’s case through new eyes and to see things from a new perspective.”
Innovative format to encourage engagement
The series has been likened to the popular NetFlix series, Making of a Murderer. It consists of eight short episodes of around fifteen minutes, combined with maps, key evidential footage and documents and additional interviews that will be published across BBC Three platforms and social media.
Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three, says,
“We are innovating with new ways to tell stories at BBC Three and Unsolved is the perfect example of how our move online has opened up new possibilities for storytelling. It offers young people new ways to engage with our content and allows them to discover our content at their pace.”
Watch the first episode now and catch the remaining episodes from 10am Monday 25th July on BBC Three.
Image: © BBC