Exclusive: Missing student 'left suicide tape'

A STUDENT with learning difficulties who went missing nearly six months ago had talked about ending his life.

Russell Bohling, 18, left a message on a dictaphone saying he was unhappy, was not very clever and wanted to be buried in the countryside.

The tape was found in his bedroom by police investigating his disappearance and was sent to a voice analysis expert at York University, who concluded it had been made by a male aged 15 or over.

Russell's parents, Roger and Christine, believe the recording was made in his last year at secondary school and had nothing to do with his disappearance.

They said at the time he was anxious about not taking exams like his peers and feared he would never get a job.

The Bohlings said his self-esteem and confidence had improved immeasurably while he was studying bricklaying at Bishop Burton College, near Beverley, where was named top student in his group last year.

Asked if he appeared depressed at the time of his disappearance, Mr Bohling said: "On the contrary, he was optimistic about what was going to happen in his life. He was a different person, he had enjoyed success."

Last year Roger Bohling told his family he intends to take his own life because of a degenerative brain disease, and police have questioned whether this had affected Russell's state of mind.

The 57-year-old told his three sons he plans "to bring his life to a dignified end" when his quality of life diminishes past a certain point and said they accepted the decision.

Because of Mr Bohling's illness, his sons were going to get their inheritance early – which for Russell meant a semi-detached, three-bedroom house in North Ferriby, plus a lump sum with a combined value of 300,000.

Russell was last seen at 8am on March 2 when he left home in West Ella, near Hull, in the family's blue Renault Clio.

It is not known whether he arrived at college and the car was found abandoned at Bempton Cliffs nature reserve, near Bridlington.

Police believe the most likely explanation for Russell's disappearance is that he killed himself or had an accident, but the family believe he may have been abducted and murdered.

The Bohlings disagree with police analysis of the car and the distance Russell could have travelled on the fuel it had.

They have recreated the journey it took after being filled up on March 1 – a round trip from home to East Hull Baths, which Russell and his mother took that night, and the journey from home to Bempton on March 2.

On their reconstruction the car ran out of diesel at Brandesburton, 20 miles short of Bempton. The Bohlings say police should gather CCTV footage from the 71 petrol stations in the East Riding to establish whether Russell was acting alone or not.

Earlier this week Mr Bohling admitted possessing and making indecent images of children at Beverley Magistrates' Court.

The images were on computers examined as part of the inquiry into Russell's disappearance. He will be sentenced next month.

Mr Bohling said yesterday that a cocktail of drugs he was taking for his illness may have contributed to the offences.

He said he was not well enough to both contest the case and lead the campaign to find Russell.

"I had been advised that I could plead not guilty with the defence that the drugs could have been a contributory factor, but I decided to plead guilty so I could focus all my attention on pursuing Russell's case," he said.