A senior police officer has pleaded with the ex-partner of a murdered mother to reveal the location of her body as detectives call an end to their search.
Ben Lacomba, 40, was jailed for life in November last year after compelling circumstantial evidence proved he used his red Vauxhall Zafira taxi to transport and dispose of 46-year-old Sarah Wellgreen’s body on the night of October 9 in 2018.
Kent Police combed 2,771 locations using sniffer dogs, drones and sonar while drafting in 160 extra officers from across the country to help find her but still haven’t found where she was buried.
Detective Chief Inspector Ivan Beasley, who led the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate investigation into Sarah’s disappearance, has now urged the convicted killer to reveal the whereabouts of Sarah’s body.
He said: ‘I want to make a personal appeal to Lacomba to do the decent thing. Have the courage to come forward and tell us where she is.
‘Do what is right for her family and the three children you share. Lacomba is the only person who knows where Sarah is and what really happened to her.
‘That’s not just my personal opinion. It is shared by a unanimous jury. But he still chooses not to tell us where her body is or even admit to what he has done.’
Sarah’s mother Anne Reid has thanked everyone involved with the search efforts but said the family will never be able to move on until she is found.
To mark the two year anniversary of Sarah’s death, Ms Reid told the Dartford Messenger: ‘Some days are a real struggle.
‘I find it hard to believe that Sarah has not been found as he’s not that clever and every time the phone rings my heart lurches as I think “is this the call?”
‘All three children miss their mother desperately. Christmas and birthdays without Sarah for me are empty and meaningless but we carry on as ultimately Christmas is a celebration for children anyway and we make sure they have a good one.
‘There’s been so much going on in the background and so much is still unresolved.
‘We just want to get closure and to get Sarah’s death certificate.’
On how the family will mark the two year anniversary of Sarah’s disappearance, she said: ‘We will light a candle for Sarah and remember the vibrant woman she was and how lucky we were to have her in our lives.’
Lacomba, who still hasn’t cooperated with efforts to find her and remains adamant of his innocence, may never be freed unless he gives up the location under new Helen’s Law legislation.
Lacomba will serve at least 27 years in prison before being eligible for release.
But Helen’s Law, which will force parole boards to consider whether a murderer has disclosed the location of their victim’s body, is set to be enacted and could mean Lacomba may never taste freedom unless he talks.
Mr Beasley added: ‘I really don’t know whether he will ever help us. He remains adamant of his innocence.
‘But he’s got a long time to think about things. By the time he is eligible for release, Helen’s Law may be enacted which could mean the parole board will have to consider the fact he hasn’t told us where Sarah is.
‘That may have an impact on whether and when he talks. Then the family can give their proper goodbyes and have as much closure as possible. They still haven’t been able to have a proper funeral.’
Woolwich Crown Court heard Lacomba spent two hours away from the family home the pair were co-habiting in on the night Sarah went missing.
And the prosecution suggested he may have already dug the grave with a huge 5ft by 5ins shovel he said was a gift for his mother.
This makes the vast area where Sarah may possibly be buried around 60 miles or an hour’s drive away in any direction from the leafy village of New Ash Green.
Mr Beasley added: ‘Unfortunately we have had to reach the incredibly difficult decision to end the active search for Sarah.
‘Based on what we believe, we have searched all the areas where she was probably hidden but have been unable to find Sarah.
‘It doesn’t mean we won’t find her and I am still hopeful one day we will. We just need a bit more luck than we have had so far.’
Mr Beasley appealed people in New Ash Green, Longfield and the rural area south towards Sevenoaks to ‘still be vigilant’ and to report anything suspicious or unusual which could be connected to where Sarah is hidden.
He also thanked other emergency services who assisted and the local community for their help in searching and caring for the beautician’s family, ‘who are so grateful for everyone’s efforts’.