A skeleton found at the bottom of a well on a Greek island has been confirmed as a missing British tourist who disappeared almost 12 years ago.
Tragic Steven Cook vanished while out with friends on the first night of his holiday in Malia on Crete in September 2005.
The 20-year-old was last seen in a bar asking for directions to his hotel but walked off in the wrong direction at the end of a night out.
Last week Greek police were called after a skeleton was discovered by workmen cleaning a well close to where he disappeared on the island.
And today, Cheshire Police confirmed DNA results prove the remains belong to Liverpool fan Steven.
Arrangements are now being made to bring Steven back to the UK so an inquest can be held.
Detective Inspector Gary McIntyre, from Cheshire Police, said: “On Thursday, February 16 Cheshire Police was made aware of the discovery of human remains in a well in Malia, Crete.
“Since then, officers have been in close liaison with the Greek authorities and have been awaiting further information.
“The remains were removed from the site and taken to a nearby hospital for further forensic examination.
“Tests have been carried out and we have now received confirmation from the Greek authorities that the remains belong to Steven Cook, who went missing on September 1, 2005 during a holiday to the island.
“Steven’s family have been kept fully updated on the developments and are currently being supported by Cheshire officers.
“They have been provided with support since Steven first went missing and this will continue over the coming weeks.
“This is understandably an extremely upsetting and distressing time for the Cook family.
“It is important to remember that the discovery of Steven’s body is being managed by the Greek authorities, who have had primacy for this case since Steven was first reported missing, and they will continue to liaise with us moving forward.
“Our priority is to ensure that Steven is flown home to the UK as soon as possible.
“The remains will then be subject to the Cheshire Coronial process.”
Steven, who lived in Sandbach, Cheshire, was on his first trip abroad in September 2005 when he vanished without trace.
He had been out drinking with friends but left a pub alone at the end of the night and was last seen in a bar asking for directions to his hotel.
A huge search was carried out but nothing was found and his disappearance remained a mystery until the skeleton was found last week.
Greek authorities confirmed a disposable camera and belt were also found alongside the remains.
One local said: “The owner of the well brought in a company to clean the well and empty whatever was at the bottom of it.
“They found a complete human skeleton and a small camera.
“The police and coroner were both called to the scene.”
Steven’s parents Norman and Pat, both 73, put up a 7,000 Euro reward for information about their missing son after he disappeared in 2005.
They have also kept their supporters updated through their Find Steven Cooke page on Facebook.
Speaking after the skeleton was found last week, mum Pat said: “We have been told that a skeleton has been found, we don’t know what to make of it.
“It was a shock to receive the call after all this time, it’s upset all the family.
“But it’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened. We are waiting to hear more from the Greek authorities.”
Det Insp McIntyre added: “Steven was 20 at the time of his disappearance.
“Over the years Cheshire Constabulary has remained committed to finding him.
“A file on Steven’s disappearance has been maintained by the force and we always said that it will not be closed until information is received which confirms what has happened to him.
“Officers involved in Steven’s case will continue to liaise with the Greek authorities, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Steven’s family moving forward.”