The families of two missing teenagers were yesterday struggling to come to terms with the news that they might have died in a barn fire.
Best friends David Greenyer and Jon Mahoney, both 14, are feared dead after charred remains were discovered in the wreckage of a burnt-out hay barn. Police said they found two sets of remains, but they were so badly burned that the bodies would have to be identified by DNA.
It is feared that both David and Jon, who lived at Belford, near Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland, are dead.
The two boys were last seen on Saturday night at David’s home, just a few yards from where the discovery was made at Buckton Farm.
Police said the fire involved around 500 tonnes of straw. A forensic examination has been delayed because the open-sided barn has a roof made of asbestos.
Det Supt Steve Wade, who is leading the investigation, said both families were struggling to come to terms with what happened on Saturday night.
He told reporters just yards from the scene of the blaze: “David’s parents are absolutely devastated.
“Obviously, he was much loved by his family. They cannot comprehend what has happened and cannot bring themselves to actually walk round to the scene at the barn.”
Mr Wade said David, who was in Year 10 at Berwick High School, was well liked and academically gifted. He was a very keen sportsman and loved karate and playing golf.
Army cadet Jon, who was David’s classmate, wanted to be a fighter pilot in the RAF when he was older.
“He was described at school as a bright and able pupil who was very well liked in the school,” Mr Wade said.
“Academically, he was gifted and he would have gone on to do A-Levels. He wanted to be an RAF pilot and was working towards that.
“He was keen member of the Army cadets and enjoyed shooting, cycling, canoeing and other outdoor sports.”
Mr Mahoney, who last saw his son when he dropped him off at David’s house on Saturday afternoon for a sleepover, was too upset to speak to reporters and could only say: “It’s a bad time.”
David lived at Buckton Farm Cottages, which is adjacent to the barn, with his father Terry, mother Michelle and elder brother Andrew.
Jon lived at The Meadows in Belford with his father Michael and stepmother Angela.
His natural mother, Ann Mahoney, lives in Aberfan, south Wales. Police said she had been informed.
Mr Greenyer told police he last saw his son alive when he left on Saturday night to pick up his elder son from his workplace in Berwick.