A DEAD digger driver at the centre of speculation over the fate of Sheffield toddler Ben Needham was a “good man” who had nothing to do with the boy’s disappearance, his widow has said.
Konstantinos Barkas, also known as Dino, was clearing land with an excavator close to where the 21-month-old was playing on the day he vanished in 1991 and may be responsible for his death, a friend of the builder has reportedly told police.
There are fears the youngster may have been crushed to death in an accident and his mother, Kerry Needham, said police have told her to “fear the worst”.
Detectives from South Yorkshire Police said they will carry out investigations at two “areas of interest” on the Greek island of Kos in the coming weeks, although they are keeping an open mind about what happened to the toddler.
Mr Barkas’s widow Varvara strongly dismissed any suggestions her late husband had killed Ben in an accident when asked by the Sunday Mirror.
She said: “My husband was a good man and I know he had nothing to do with Ben’s disappearance.”
She admitted they had never spoken about what happened on the day Ben disappeared.
Mrs Barkas said: “My husband never talked about what actually happened on that day. He never talked to me about what he was doing. It was never discussed.
“He never once spoke to me about Ben. The only thing he ever said was that he saw a car that day. Even when he was dying, he never mentioned Ben.”
Mr Barkas reportedly built up a successful construction business on the popular tourist island before his death in April 2015 aged 62.
His son Valandis said his father was an honest and respectable man who had assisted British investigators when requested.
Ben, from Sheffield, disappeared from outside Ms Needham’s parents’ home on the island on July 24 1991.
Mr Barkas had reportedly been helping to clear land for a local builder near the property.
In the 25 years since Ben’s disappearance there have been multiple theories about what happened to him.
Mrs Needham, who has campaigned tirelessly to find her son in the hope that he would be found alive, said she would find it difficult to cope if it had been in vain.
She told ITV News: “It could have been ended 25 years ago.
“I could have probably forgiven that person back then, but now? No. Twenty-five years of misery to find out this ending. It’s going to be difficult.”