THE parents of a Caldicot man who has been missing for the past 10 years have spoken of their decade of agony without closure. CARYS THOMAS reports.

NEXT WEEK will mark the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of James Nutley on a golfing holiday in Tenby.

He was just 25-years-old when he went missing on October 24, 2004.

Next Friday, 10 years after he disappeared, parents Catherine, 61, and Jeff, 69, along with other members of the family will be doing what they have done every anniversary for the past decade - making the trip to the seaside town where he was last seen.

The family have also spent each August 16, which is James' birthday, at Tenby where they used to go on holiday when he was a child.

Mrs Nutley said: "It seems like yesterday that it happened. I think about him every day.

"He is always in my thoughts and we always talk about him. Helen, James' sister has suffered the most. She can't face going to Tenby - she's only been back a few times since and one of them was to take Molly her daughter."

Mr Nutley: "People say how marvellous we've been throughout this but what choice do we have? We can't stop hoping."

The keen golfer had arrived in Tenby sometime between 5pm and 5.30pm on Sunday, October 24 as part of a golfing group trip with 18 others.

James left the Prince of Wales pub in Upper Frog Street at 11.40pm to head back to his hotel, the Giltar. His last known whereabouts were captured by CCTV cameras at 11.57pm as he was crossing the road towards the Atlantic Hotel.

In the footage, six people can be seen walking along the pavement past the hotel, around ten - 15 metres away from Mr Nutley.

A search of the coastline in the days following his disappearance failed to find any trace of him. His belongings, including his driving licence, national insurance card, Euro golf card and Paddy Power bookmakers' card, were later found on South Beach but there was nothing to indicate that the items had been washed up.

Mrs Nutley said the belongings were found by children playing on the beach on the afternoon of Monday, October 25, the same day that James’ friends reported him missing.

James went missing during gale-force winds while he was walking near the cliffs and Dyfed Powys Police spent eight days searching buildings, coastline and beaches, before stopping the physically search on November 1.

A large-scale police search with dogs was carried out along with helicopters with heat-seeking cameras, abseilers and the coastguard were all used in the hunt.

But his parents do not believe he could have fallen into the sea from where police sniffer dogs traced his last whereabouts.

Mrs Nutley: "There are gardens along where they think he was. The place where he was, he couldn’t possibly have gone into the water.”

Mr Nutley: “The CCTV shows him stepping off the pavement right across from his hotel. The sea was behind him.”

The family say they were not shown CCTV footage of James on the night of his disappearance until 22 months after he was reported missing.

Mrs Nutley: "We saw the footage for the first time in August 2006. You could see people walking in front of him but they could have been a minute or so in front of him.

"Police never found anyone who saw him that night."

Mr Nutley said: "We saw the one CCTV footage which had a white car in it and then we were sent the same footage but without the car in it."

The family over the past 10 years have been notified about findings in the area which police thought at the time could be in connection with James’ disappearance. The family were notified of a female’s body being found in Tenby and a bone which was found on November 13, 2005, from an arm on of an adult between 20 and 50 in Cefn Sidan beach in Carmarthenshire.

Mrs Nutley said: “I won't believe any of it until I see the evidence in front of me. It would be nice to have closure.”

In 2006 a Milford Haven man was jailed for 27 months after pleading guilty to trying to pervert the course of justice. He admitted making up a story that he killed James and threw his body off Stack Rocks, Pembrokeshire.

Mr Nutley said: “I believed it. But the times that he was saying didn’t add up.”

Phil Price, a family friend who lives in Pembrokeshire, said: "There is no rest, we can't have a service - we can't say if he's alive or dead."

Mrs Nutley along with daughter Helen who was 23-years-old at the time travelled to Tenby the day James was reported missing and stayed there for the week.

Mrs Nutley said: "When we left to go home we were sat in the car and we cried. We thought we were leaving him behind.”

His parents along with James' uncle Jimmy Harris, contacted racing newspapers and golfing magazines connected with James' interests in the hope that if he is suffering with amnesia, the reports may jog his memory.

Mrs Nutley said: “I think he’s alive and living in Spain or Majorca. He loved racing and golf and when we watch them we’re always looking at the crowd for him.

“We light a candle at St Bride's (a Tenby church), it does give a sense of relief.”

James previously worked at St Pierre Golf Club in Chepstow as an assistant pro before travelling the UK selling golf equipment to clubs.

A talented player, Mr Nutley won Ian Woosnam's Cannes French Open when he was 17, and was presented with the top prize by the Welsh legend. He also won the Junior Club Championship at the Celtic Manor and wanted to become a professional player.

Mr Nutley said;”He loved his job so much. He would go and play on the best courses. He came back with some good stories.

“He had a lot going for him.”

Mrs Nutley: "He would have loved Molly, his niece, who is two. He would have doted on her."

James' face featured on milk bottles in Iceland, the supermarket, to raise awareness as part of a scheme by the National Missing Persons' helpline charity in October 2005 but the campaign didn’t produce any new leads.

The family will be travelling down to Tenby for the anniversary and will walk along the path James would have taken.

Dyfed Powys Police confirmed that the file relating to the disappearance of James William Nutley remains open. James is 6ft 2ins tall, has brown hair and was wearing a white top with blue sleeves and blue jeans on the night he vanished.

For more information


  • October 24, 2004, 5pm -5.30pm James Nutley and friends arrive in Tenby
  • October 24,2004, James leaves the Prince of Wales pub in Upper Frog Street at 11.40pm
  • October 24, 2004 James capturedon CCTV at 11.57pm, crossing the road towards the Atlantic Hotel, Tenby
  • October 25, 2004 James’ friends report him missing
  • October 25, 2004: Mr Nutley’s belongings including driving licence found on Tenby’s South Beach, directly below the Clarence Hotel on The Esplanade
  • October 26, 2002 Coastguards search cliffs in Tenby
  • October 27, further sea searches by Coastguard
  • November 1, 2002: Dyfed Powys Police stop physical search July 2005: is set up
  • October 28, 2005: Friends of James arrange fundraising golf day at St Pierre
  • October 2005: James’ faces features on milk bottles campaign
  • November 13, 2005: Dyfed Powys Police find bone from an arm of an adult aged between 20 and 50 in Cefn Sidan beach in Carmarthenshire
  • January 2006: Family told no link between bone found and James
  • March 2006: Nationwide poster campaign with 2,000 posters
  • June 2006: Man jailed for 27 months for perverting the course of justice after claiming to have harmed James
  • Nov 2006: “Sighting” in Monmouth proves false October 2006: The Nutleys offer £5,000 reward for information
  • March 24, 2008, Missing Wales Race Day is held at Chepstow Racecourse to raise awareness
  • May, 2008: The Nutleys appear on BBC’s Missing Live October 2014: They face the tenth anniversary without him