Corby family still looking for answers ten years after brother's disappearance

Justin Mathis went missing after a night out in Wales on February 3, 2011

The family of a Corby publican who went missing after a night out ten years ago is still looking for answers into his disappearance.

Former St Brendan's and Our Lady and Pope John pupil, Justin Mathis, vanished on February 3, 2011, after visiting the George and Dragon pub in Conway, North Wales, on belated post-Christmas pub crawl.

The last CCTV showed him near the town's waterfront wall and despite an extensive search by coastguard and RNLI including underwater, the 28-year-old landlord's body was never found, but a few days later one of his boots was discovered on the opposite side of the estuary.

Justin Mathis - family photos

His family feels they have not yet had closure because although at an inquest the coroner recorded a cause of death as “unascertained” they want more answers into what happened.

Vicky Cherry, Justin's youngest sister, said: "He was just the best, so kind, caring and funny.

"He was a great big friendly giant (he was six foot six).

"I remember him dancing about to The Shoop Shoop Song.

Vicky and her children Leo, 8, and Ella, 4, visited the town where Justin disappeared

"We were all close as siblings we had the best Christmases and birthday tea parties.

"He went to college to do hairdressing but left to work at The Rockingham Forest Hotel - that's where he learnt the skills for the pub trade."

Justin moved to Wales to pursue his career but returned to Corby when he could to visit his mum Patricia Mathis, step-dad Kenny McIntyre and siblings Wesley, Kelly, Justin, Vincent and Vicky in Uist Walk.

After his disappearance, the family went to Wales to help in the search.

Justin with his family

Vicky, 33, said: "We went to Wales for a month to look for him. I can still feel the emotion when the boot washed up on the shore - it feels raw.

"As a family - brothers and sisters - it's destroyed us.

"I don't think we can be the same again.

"We are still looking for answers. I've got two kids now.

Happy family

"I took them to where he was last seen. We threw flowers onto the water and it was nice to be there."

John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, recorded a cause of death as “unascertained” concluding that Justin probably fell into the water but was not 'entirely satisfied' he had not deliberately taken his own life and it seems likely that he had fallen into the water.

Justin went missing shortly after having a row with another publican over a clash of quiz nights and had been asked to leave a pub, but the following morning – on February 4 2011 – he had not returned home.

CCTV footage showed Mr Mathis entering the quayside area shortly before midnight but not leaving again.

A local resident had told police that as he drove along the quayside he saw a man sitting or crouching against a wall.

Justin's mum died in 2013, his step-dad in 2015 with Vicky promising to find out what happened to her brother.

Justin (on right) with Wesley and Vincent

Vicky said: "The CCTV makes no sense. He would have had to put his leg over the wall even if he fell he would have fallen on to the path below."

To raise funds for the Missing People charity that supported the family over the past ten years, Vicky had planned a benefit evening at the Rockingham Forest Hotel.

Vicky said: "Justin has five nieces and nephews, two that he never met. We want to raise awareness of missing people and how we can’t grieve.

"We wanted to do a benefit dance for Missing People, they were incredible and supported us. We wanted to get some recognition for them."

A spokesman for North Wales Police said: "In cases where people have gone missing many years ago, and have not been found, such cases never close, although there may be no current investigation or new appeal. We would look into any relevant new information if it came forward."

Justin at a family wedding