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Anthony Knott: Best friend of missing firefighter says he has simply ‘vanished’ | UK News



The firefighter who went missing before Christmas Day has simply “vanished”, his best friend has told Sky News.

Father-of-four Anthony Knott, from Lincoln Green, Orpington, Kent, has not been seen since he disappeared during a Christmas pub crawl with his workmates on Friday 20 December.

Steve Shepherd and Anthony Knott (right) made plans for the day after he disappeared
Steve Shepherd and Anthony Knott (right) had made plans for the day after he disappeared

Friend Steve Shepherd said: “It’s just out of character. He was happy [in his] home life, friends, family. I spoke to him on the Thursday, we were going for a drink on the Saturday. We had future plans.

“It’s just unusual. He’s vanished and we don’t know where.”

Mr Shepherd said Mr Knott had plans with his fiancee to be home by 2am, as well as having made plans with him for Saturday afternoon to “go for a few drinks”.

He said: “Everything was normal. Nothing out of the blue.

“The only suggestion was that he might have gone outside to get some cigarettes and gone outside because he looked a bit anxious.”

His comments come the day after Sussex Police released the last known image of Mr Knott, 33, walking alone on the night.

Mr Knott was seen at The Lamb pub in Lewes, East Sussex, where he had been with 11 of his London Fire Brigade (LFB) colleagues. For unknown reasons, he left the premises alone at about 7.16pm.

Anthony Knott, 44, went missing on 20 December during a pub crawl with his London Fire Brigade colleagues
Mr Knott, 33, went missing on 20 December during a night out

The last sighting of Mr Knott, which has been confirmed by his family, places him walking up Market Street and back towards the pub at 7.41pm.

Police say this is 20 mins after his phone was switched off, according to the time captured on the CCTV image.

There is nothing to suggest Mr Knott left the Lewes area and police are focusing their search efforts in the town.

Last image of Anthony Knott has been released by police. Pic: Sussex Police
This last image of Mr Knott has been released by police. Pic: Sussex Police

There are “increasing concerns for his welfare and fears that he may have come to some harm”, the force said.

His fiancee, Lucy Otto, has described the disappearance as “a complete mystery”.

“I don’t understand how someone can just walk out a pub and disappear,” she told Sky News in an interview on Christmas Eve.

“There’s no eyewitness statements, there’s not much CCTV, there’s nothing really to go on.

“And to be gone for this long, I just don’t get it, I just do not understand it.”

fiancee of missing firefighter

Firefighter’s fiancee: ‘It’s not like him’

There has been no activity on Mr Knott’s phone since 7.20pm on Friday and his bank card has not been used, Ms Otto said.

She has no idea where Mr Knott has gone and says “nothing has come up so far”.

“I know the weather was really bad that day and there was bad flooding, I don’t know if he’s tried to come home and come across some water and hurt himself,” Ms Otto added.

“But there’s been search and rescue teams looking for him.”

Lucy Otto and Anthony Knott
Mr Knott and his fiancee Lucy Otto

In a direct message to her fiance, she added: “If he is watching and you’re worried and you’re thinking, ‘Oh I can’t come home, this is too big now’, honestly, you don’t realise how many people want you back regardless of the situation you left in – if that is the case.

“So just come home, please just come home.”

Chief Inspector Sarah Godley said: “We hope this latest image of him may jog someone’s memory or help provide some new information about his disappearance.”

She said the search for Mr Knott has included local officers, drones and the dog unit, as well as support from fire brigades, helicopter service, search and rescue staff and the Coastguard agency.

Missing posters for Anthony Knott have been put up around the area
Missing posters for Anthony Knott have been put up around the area

“In addition to the local area, we have also extended our search of the River Ouse north towards Hamsey, and we will continue to search for Anthony until we get the answers his family are so desperately seeking,” she said. “Seven days on, our priority remains to find him.

“A further search of the Pells Pool area and the river will be carried out over the weekend as the natural water level falls. The flood water has made our operation challenging, but we remain committed to finding Anthony.”

Mr Knott is white, approximately 6ft tall, of medium build and with medium-brown, short and gelled hair.

He was wearing a black long-sleeve top, a dark denim suit-style jacket, dark denim jeans and black shoes.

Anyone who may have seen Mr Knott or who has other relevant information is asked to contact Sussex Police by phoning 101, quoting Operation Barnstaple. If he is ill, injured or thought to be in danger, dial 999 immediately

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