In 2007, 14 year-old Andrew Gosden disappeared, having travelled from South Yorkshire down to London – without anyone knowing why. His disappearance has never been solved, despite generating publicity across the United Kingdom.
Gosden made the near 2 hour journey to London without anyone realising, seemingly going to meet someone. He was seen leaving King’s Cross Station, but after that – no one knows what happened.
A major update in 2021 – well over a decade after the disappearance, has seemed to bring new life to this case, with two arrests having been made in connection to this case. But few details have been released since.
This article reviews this sad case. At the end of the article, there is a reader’s poll which gives you the chance to vote on the different theories laid out. We will see what the most popular theory is.
Andrew Gosden was born in July 1993, and was raised in a small suburb outside Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England.
Gosden was a talented student, who attended the local McAuley Catholic School. He was gifted, and his teachers had expected him to go on to study at either Cambridge or Oxford.
Leading up to his disappearance, Gosden had started to withdraw from certain activities. For example, he stopped going to Church, and stopped attending Cub Scouts.
Ahead of his disappearance, Gosden had just started a new academic year, which would be the first year of his GCSEs. Strangely, Gosden had twice elected to walk 4 miles from his school to his home, rather than take the bus – on the week of his disappearance.
In the wake of him disappearing, Andrew’s father Kevin Gosden, said that his 14 year-old son was not streetwise, was impressionable and potentially vulnerable.
On 14th September 2007, Gosden awoke as usual, although his parents described him as “irritable” – which was unusual for him. But the youngster left his house as usual at 08:05am. So far, nothing seemed amiss.
Gosden was spotted doing his regular walk to the bus stop – though before he reached the bus stop, he instead walked to a local garage. He withdrew £200 from his bank account at an ATM machine – almost emptying the contents of his account.
Gosden was then seen returning home. At home, Gosden changed out of his uniform and put on casual clothing. The only things he took was the withdrawn money, his keys, a wallet, a bag and a games console.
Gosden only wore a T-shirt, though it was still summer in London at the time. All the signs suggested at this point that Gosden was just going for a day trip. However, this would soon change.
Gosden left his house again and was spotted walking to Doncaster Railway Station. He purchased a one-way ticket to London. The ticket vendor offered Gosden a return ticket, but the youngster turned it down, instead maintaining he wanted a single fare.
At 09:35am, Gosden boarded a train to King’s Cross Station in London. He played on his games console on the journey, which took just under 2 hours.
CCTV showed Gosden arriving at King’s Cross Station at 11:20am. At 11:25am, Gosden was seen exiting King’s Cross station. Unfortunately, this was the last known sighting of Gosden, and he was never heard from again.
The investigation was hampered from the start. Usually, Gosden would walk home on his own from school, with his parents usually not seeing him until dinner – after they had both finished work.
The family sat down for dinner, expecting Gosden to be either gaming or doing homework. However, after looking around the house, they realised he wasn’t there.
At this point, the family didn’t panic – simply believing he was out with friends. But after the family had called the parents of his friends, they learned that Gosden had not been in school that day. At this point, the family became very worried.
Gosden’s parents were left bereft. After he didn’t show up to his morning lessons, the school left a voicemail on what they believed to be Gosden’s parents’ phones. However, in a cruel twist, a clerical error meant the wrong number was dialled – wasting valuable time.
The Police were therefore not contacted until 7pm – over 7 hours following Gosden’s arrival in London. But the family at this point were unaware of Gosden’s journey. Instead, they assumed that something had happened en route to school.
The family and Police searched the local area for any sign of Gosden, though nothing turned up. Over the next few days, the local area was searched extensively. However, there was still no sign of him.
The Police then made public transport enquiries, leading to them talking to the ticket vendor that had sold a ticket to Gosden. The Police were then able to look at CCTV, and realise that the youngster had left Doncaster by train, bound for London.
Three weeks after the disappearance, the British Transport Police identified Gosden on CCTV at King’s Cross Station in London. Searches by the Police initially focused on areas within London that had extended members of the Gosden family living in it.
London became the focal point of the investigation. CCTV around King’s Cross was trawled through. However, the fact that the discovery came weeks after Gosden had arrived, meant that a lot of what would be crucial CCTV was no longer available.
The biggest question was what Gosden’s reason for going to London was in the first place? The Police initially presumed that Gosden had gone to London to meet someone he had met online.
But further investigation showed this was almost impossible, as Gosden’s games console had never been connected to the internet (confirmed by console creator SONY), he did not have a computer, nor an email address. Computers at Gosden’s school and the nearby Library were also analysed, but there was no trace of Gosden going near them.
It was known that Gosden enjoyed visiting London, having travelled there with family members in the past. Family members in London were questioned, but this line of enquiry went nowhere.
Gosden’s parents were also questioned by the Police. There was a theory that the parents may have been involved in his disappearance. After being cleared by the Police, the family heavily criticised the Police for wasting crucial time.
His parents suggested that music events may have been the cause of his trip to London. Gosden was known to be a fan of music, especially metal. The metal-based bands Thirty Seconds to Mars and SikTh were both scheduled to play near King’s Cross station on the day of his disappearance. But there was never any proof that Gosden attended either, nor if he even knew of these bands.
The parents of Gosden also criticised the Police for failing to act on possible sightings. There were numerous reported sightings of Gosden on the day – including at a Pizza Hut restaurant a mile away from King’s Cross. It is possible that if this sighting was correct, that Gosden may have been waiting for someone.
One member of the public stated that they believed they saw Gosden sleeping in a park the day after he disappeared. There were also a range of other people that came forward, believing that they had spotted Gosden since his disappearance.
Another sighting that the Gosden family believe should’ve been examined more was that of a woman who spoke to a boy that resembled Gosden approximately a month after he vanished in Covent Garden, London.
The woman asked the boy about the news story of the teenager that had disappeared. However, the boy insisted he was not the missing person. The Police only questioned the woman involved in this event six weeks following the potential sighting.
Over the course of the next few months, more sightings were reported across London, and also southern locations like Plymouth and Brighton. But as the months went by, the search got scaled down, with Gosden still not found.
In 2009, two years after Gosden’s disappearance, the family released age-progressed images of what Gosden may look like – with him turning 16 around this time.
Large swathes of the River Thames were searched underwater for Gosden, but still no sign of him was found. Other searches in recent years have failed to yield anything.
In July 2018, at a time that would have been Gosden’s 25th birthday, more age progression images were released to the public. These images have continued to circulate, though no fresh leads have come of this.
As will be shown below, the charity Missing People emblazoned Gosden onto several billboards and advertisements as part of their efforts to raise awareness about missing children.
A major development in the case came in 2021. In an announcement out of the blue, South Yorkshire Police released a statement saying that investigators looking into Gosden’s case had arrested two men on suspicion of kidnapping and human trafficking.
These arrests have breathed new life into Gosden’s case. These were the first arrests made in connection with this case, and shows that there is still hope that Gosden will get justice.
Both men, aged 38 and 45, have been released pending further enquiries. Many devices have been seized from the men, with Police expected to analyse these over the course of several months. We will now wait to see if this yields any significant findings.
There is a lot to unpack in this case. There are multiple theories, though these tend to be rather broad. We have attempted to categorise the theories in a succinct way.
We take a look at the evidence for each:
Theory One: Gosden went to London to meet someone
A common belief is that Gosden went to London to meet someone. Gosden was known to be impressionable, and maybe he had been groomed by someone who got Gosden to visit them, or he may have believed he was meeting a friend in London.
It should be remembered that Gosden only purchased a one-way ticket. As a result, one would assume he believed he would be able to get back from London without public transport. Did he think whoever he was meeting would drive him back?
This would also explain his casual appearance and lack of clothes – as he surely would have believed this person would be driving him back that same day, or taking him to a house.
Perhaps fearing that his parents would say no, Gosden may have intentionally not said about a potential plan to meet up with someone. Or he might have been scared of their reaction.
Sadly, there are many people that prey on impressionable young people like Gosden. It is highly-likely under the circumstances that if this theory is true, that Gosden was kidnapped and probably murdered at some point.
But it should be remembered that Gosden didn’t use the internet, nor did he have a mobile phone at the time of his disappearance. Therefore, is it really feasible that he could arrange to meet someone?
Or did he meet someone in Doncaster, before days or weeks later meeting with them in London. Could this explain why Gosden walked home rather than got the bus home? Maybe he spoke to someone on that walk home – maybe even arranging plans for that day.
The most logical explanation is that Gosden was somehow groomed by paedophiles. But without the internet, it isn’t known how this would be possible. Yet some have proposed that Gosden had a secret mobile phone that his parents didn’t know about.
But we need to remember in 2007, not everyone had a mobile phone – and they were much more inferior in terms of features. This argument is a possibility, and would explain how he could be groomed without access to the internet.
Gosden also took part in a Gifted & Talented programme over the summer, where he would have been introduced to many new people – including some older people. Maybe that programme was the start of his tragic downfall – especially if a predator had began their grooming from there.
The fact that two people were arrested in 2021 on suspicion of kidnapping and trafficking also points to this theory being accurate. Though questions do remain.
Theory Two: Gosden went to London on his own and got kidnapped while there
Another theory proposes that Gosden went to London on the spur of the moment, deciding to have a day out. This would explain why he didn’t have many clothes and travelled lightly.
The aforementioned theory regarding Gosden attending a metal music performance would support this. He may have wished to travel to London, enjoy the show and then return.
But if this is true, then why would Gosden only purchase a one-way ticket? This wouldn’t make sense if he was having a day trip. This is why it does point to the fact that Gosden didn’t intend on returning that day to Doncaster.
Gosden was known to be impressionable, and maybe there was a stranger he met on that fateful day that took advantage of him and ultimately kidnapped him, leading to an uncertain fate.
It is hard to support this theory, given the lack of evidence – mainly the one-way ticket. However, it is possible that Gosden got confused, and thought that he would buy another one-way ticket later in the day in London.
Theory Three: Gosden ran away from home and lived on the streets
Another potential theory is that Gosden chose to ran away from home. As he was familiar with London, he may have thought that this would be an ideal location for a fresh start.
If Gosden had ran away, then it would explain why he had only purchased a one-way ticket. But his lack of clothes indicated that he would be returning the same day – and were not fit for living on the streets.
A possible theory that some had was that Gosden may have been gay – and struggling with his sexuality. As his parents were strong Christians, he may have feared their reaction to his sexuality. This could potentially have led to him running away. His parents responded to this theory by saying they would have supported him whatever his choice was.
If Gosden had lived on the streets for some time, he may have been kidnapped or trafficked from there by unknown people who saw Gosden as a vulnerable boy. Similar to the theory above, if this is true, he probably would have been sadly killed.
There is also a chance though that Gosden survived, kept a low profile, and continues to live to this day. But this would beg the question – why wouldn’t he make contact with his parents?
Theory Four: Extended family involvement
A fourth theory proposes that an extended member of Gosden’s family could be responsible for abducting him. In many disappearance cases, family members are secretly involved.
Gosden travelled lightly, and didn’t wear warm clothes. As mentioned above, it seemed as if Gosden was planning on returning that same day, and had trust in someone to transport him back to Doncaster.
This description would surely fit an extended family member. This would explain why Gosden was trusting of the person he was seemingly going to meet, and it also offers a feasible reason as to why Gosden would go on his own.
However, Gosden’s family were all investigated – and all were cleared of involvement. But it isn’t known how thoroughly investigated they were. This theory may be clutching at straws, but it could explain what happened to Gosden.
Theory Five: Gosden took his own life
The only other theory is that Gosden decided to tragically take his own life. But there isn’t too much evidence to support this. However it cannot be ignored that no trace of him – nor his body – has ever been found – suggesting he could be dead.
It would also explain why he got a one-way ticket. However, why would he visit London to do this? Or maybe he wanted to see London for a final time before taking his own life.
But Gosden was talented, had a loving family, and surely a bright future ahead. These elements don’t really therefore support this theory. But then we never truly know what is going on in a person’s mind.
His parents also mentioned they had never seen any signs that Gosden may have mental health problems or had been bullied. By accounts from teachers, he was a well-liked and popular student.
With the above theories laid out, we now invite you to vote on the theory that you believe is most likely in the poll below.
There are so many elements of this case that don’t make sense. With the lack of internet access, one-way ticket, lack of clothes and seemingly happy life back home – no single theory completely accounts for all these elements.
That is why this is such a bizarre and thought-provoking disappearance. The Gosden family hope that the arrests in 2021 will take them a step closer to the truth – and ultimately the knowledge of what truly happened on that day.
Andrew Gosden’s face can be found on many, many posters around the United Kingdom. His disappearance will not be forgotten, and there is still belief that he could be out there somewhere. All hope is not lost.