Body of missing Wheathampstead pensioner believed found on eve of diamond anniversary

Police have been searching fields around Batford for signs of Mr Lomax

Police have been searching fields around Batford for signs of Mr Lomax - Credit: Archant

A body has been found after a six-day search for a pensioner who went missing just days before his diamond wedding anniversary.

A body believed to be that of James Lomax has been found

A body believed to be that of James Lomax has been found - Credit: Archant

James Lomax, 83, who suffered with dementia, vanished from his home in Manor Road, Wheathampstead, shortly before 5pm last Thursday, May 21.

Police found a body in a field near to Mr Lomax’s home today (Wednesday) but formal identification has yet to take place.

An extensive police operation has been underway over the past week with the help of 60 volunteers from the local community who covered an area of around 12 miles on Sunday as part of the ongoing hunt for Mr Lomax.

Well-wishers were also active on social media, reporting areas they had searched in cars and on foot, including hedgerows and country lanes.

This was not the first time Mr Lomax had gone missing - he previously disappeared in April but was found in Kimpton shortly after.

Prior to the discovery of a body, neighbours and close friends of Mr Lomax and his wife Pauline - Jean and Terrance Barlow - had told the Herts Advertiser that they were very worried following this latest disappearance.

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Jean said: “Every morning I get up, look over the fence and say ‘Jim, for Christ’s sake show your face!’”

The pair, who have holidayed with Mr and Mrs Lomax, said that Mr Lomax’s dementia had grown particularly bad in recent years.

Jean added: “They were always creatures of habit, Monday was shopping day and Thursdays they used to go over to Welwyn, but then his dementia got bad.”

They revealed that Mr and Mrs Lomax were due to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary tomorrow (Thursday).

Jean said that they were a quiet couple and enjoyed visiting other Manor Roads across the UK when on holiday. Mr Lomax was also believed to be a regular customer of the Co-operative store in Batford.

She added that when Mr Lomax went missing on Thursday, he had already been out for a walk and returned only to then wave goodbye to his wife and walk out of the door again.

A member of the specialist police search team told the Herts Advertiser today: “The search has been huge. We’ve used a lot of resources and had lots of volunteers.”

It is not currently known who found Mr Lomax. A neighbour said earlier today: “All the dog walkers are out in force looking for him. I know that all of us on this road are keeping an eye out whenever we can.”

A spokesperson for the police said: “In light of the discovery police have ceased searching and would like to thank all those who took part in the searches, members of the public and the media for their help in finding James.”

Mr Lomax’s wife and family have been informed and a formal identification will take place shortly.