Tributes to James as body is found in dock

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James Bennion

James Bennion went missing in the early hours of Sunday

Hundreds of people have paid tribute to missing 20-year-old James Bennion, after a police diving team searching the Albert Dock recovered a body from the water.

Merseyside Police said that a body was found at 2.30pm on Thursday, following an initial operation which began on Wednesday afternoon.

Formal identification was announced on Friday, with Merseyside Police confirming: “James’ family has been notified and a date will be set for the post-mortem to establish the cause of death.”

The body is thought to have been discovered in the dock close to Tate Liverpool.

Merseyside Police and fire and rescue teams spent several hours at the Albert Dock, searching underwater during a bid to find postman, James Bennion.

Police officers earlier confirmed that the diving operation was part of the hunt for James.

Wavertree resident James, originally from Ellesmere Port, went missing in the early hours of Sunday after becoming separated from his group of friends on a night out in Liverpool city centre.

He was last seen in the Concert Square area of the city after he left Baa Bar, but the search switched to the Albert Dock on Wednesday after he was identified on CCTV footage walking near the Liverpool One bus interchange at around 4.30am.

Family and friends had also been out searching for four days, with posters being handed out and put up around town, and a campaign was launched via social media.

His sister Aimee paid tribute on Twitter, saying it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. She tweeted: “At such a young age you’re taken from us. Life is so so unfair  r.i.p best bro ever I love you x.”

The Albert Dock was cordoned off as police divers searched for missing James Bennion. Photo: Ida Husøy

The Albert Dock was cordoned off as police divers searched the water. Photo: Ida Husøy

Friends and other family members left heartfelt tributes to him across social media sites.

Chloe Sutton said: “The atmosphere in school today just shows how much James Bennion was loved by everybody.”

The Liverpool Echo issued a statement apologising for the way the news emerged, saying: “Yesterday we tweeted that a body had been found in Albert Dock. That followed confirmation from the emergency services and was some time after we were aware of the fact.

“In hindsight we should have checked with police that the family had been informed.

“However, we can categorically state that police did not ask us to withhold that information. We frequently receive such requests and always respect them.

“We would like to convey our sincere condolences to everyone who knew and loved James at their terrible loss. We unreservedly apologise for any distress caused.”

About Shannyn Quinn, JMU Journalism