THE family of a man who went missing in Greece in 2005 say they will continue to fight for the facts of how he died, after an inquest reached an open conclusion.

Steven Cook was just 20 years old when he disappeared in Malia in Crete, on September 1, 2005, while on his first holiday abroad with friends.

A four-day inquest into his death, held at Crewe Town Hall, heard about the search for Steven and the discovery of his body in February 2017.

Steven’s family, including brother Chris from Comberbach, have urged people to continue to share the case both at home and abroad.

Following the inquest, they thanked those who supported them and helped with the search and recovery.

They said: “Without doubt the past 14 years have been the most challenging, emotionally draining and horrific journey that our family could ever have faced, as individuals, and collectively, and it is one which we hope no other family ever has to experience.”

The statement added: “We are a normal family who had to deal with exceptional circumstance, one which you will see on the news but never expect to be you, and we are forever indebted to those who helped in our search.”

It continued: “Although we are still without definitive answers relating to the circumstances and cause of his passing we would like to thank all involved in bringing him home so that we can start to appease the horror from our minds and begin to reconcile our lives and memories with the Steven that we knew.”

The disappearance of Steven, who was from Sandbach, sparked a search in Crete in 2005. His body was found in a well almost 12 years later, recovered, and brought home to be laid to rest.

DCI Gary McIntyre, senior investigating officer, said: “What should have been an enjoyable experience for the 20-year-old turned into a nightmare – a nightmare that his family have had to live with for many years.

“Steven had his whole life ahead of him when he travelled to Crete but sadly, he never returned home."

Cheshire Constabulary kept the case open throughout the search and liaised closely with Greek authorities and the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices – even travelling to Crete to aid in the search and the eventual recovery of Steven’s body.

DCI McIntyre added: “We have remained in close contact with the Cook family over the years. This whole experience has been extremely upsetting and distressing for them and I hope that the conclusion of the inquest today helps to bring about a degree of closure for them.

“They have acted with great dignity over the past 14 years and never gave up hope of finding Steven – I have no doubt that they will continue to keep his memory alive and remember the happy times they shared together as a family.

“This was not the outcome that anyone wanted and the discovery of Steven’s body broke the hearts of everyone involved in this tragic case.”

Steven’s family say they will continue to seek information, saying: “Even now, 14 years on, we still receive information that may shed light onto what happened that night.

“You still may be able to help. If you do not know anything directly about Steven’s case then please do all you can to help the missing at and if you can, help them to raise funds.

“Hundreds of thousands of people go missing each year … and Missing People deal with a wide cross section of situations that can impact any of us.

“We never thought it would be us. Nobody should.”