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Police searching for millionaire's missing son find body in the Thames

Police searching for millionaire’s missing son Alexander Stern, 36, who vanished after leaving pub near George Clooney’s £12million home find body in the Thames

  • A body found in the Thames is thought to be the missing Alexander Stern
  • Stern, 36, vanished in January after leaving the Bull Inn pub in Sonning, Berks
  • Thames Valley Police mounted a huge search for him but have said today that a body has been discovered two miles downstream in Charvil last Friday
  • Although formal identification has not yet taken place, officers believe it is Stern
  • Alexander, from Kensington, is the son of Ronald Stern, from Hampstead, London, who runs a stationery empire and is a well-known Ferrari collector 

A body seen floating in the Thames is thought to be Alexander Stern – a Ferrari-mad multi-millionaire’s son who went missing in January.

Eyewitnesses said 36-year-old Alexander was carrying a rucksack when he left The Bull Inn pub in Sonning, Berks, a quarter of a mile from Hollywood star Clooney’s mill house, around 7.30pm on Saturday January 11th.

Thames Valley Police who mounted a huge search for him in the days after he vanished said today that a man’s body was discovered in the river about two miles downstream near Charvil on Friday, April 3.

Although formal identification has not yet taken place, officers believe it is Alexander. His death is being treated as ‘unexplained but not suspicious’ and a file is being prepared for the coroner who will arrange an inquest. 

A body seen floating in the Thames is thought to be that of missing Alexander Stern (pictured)

CCTV shows Mr Stern ordering at the bar of the The Bull Inn in Sonning, Berks, before leaving a short while later wheeling a suitcase and walking towards Sonning Bridge, on the B478

Stern, 36, disappeared after leaving The Bull Inn, located near the flood-swollen river in Sonning, Berkshire, at around 7.30pm on Saturday, January 11

A spokesman said ‘Alexander’s next of kin have been informed and are being supported at this time. 

‘They wish to express their gratitude to the community for their support throughout this difficult time.’ 

He was captured on CCTV walking towards Sonning Bridge on January 11th and a few days later it was revealed that a postman later found a rucksack on the bridge above the Thames, which was swollen and flooded following a series of storms. 

Search teams scoured the river bank and undergrowth around Sonning but his fate remained a mystery. Thames Valley Police issued CCTV images hoping they would bring new leads from the public to solve the riddle. 

Property company boss Alexander, from Kensington, is the son of Ronald Stern, from Hampstead, London, who runs a stationery empire and is famed as one of Britain’s top Ferrari collectors – he sold one of the Italian supercars for £21million. 

One image showed Alexander in the bar of The Bull, another of him leaving the pub and wheeling a suitcase along the street, heading past Coppa Club towards Sonning Bridge on the B478. 

The investigating officer, Detective Inspector Ben Henley, said in January: ‘The police and his family and friends are very concerned for his welfare. 

‘If you saw Alexander on Saturday January 11, or think you may have seen him, please contact Thames Valley Police. We hope these images may remind you of what Alexander was wearing and carrying that day and hope this could help trace him.’ 

When he was last seen he was wearing dark clothing and a rucksack, and he was also wheeling a suitcase. Police also released a picture of a small suitcase similar to the one he was wheeling. 

DI Henley added ‘If anyone in the area could check any CCTV or dash-cam footage they have and let us know of anything you find which could be related to Alexander, please share this with us. 

The pub (pictured) is a stone’s throw from the £12million converted mill house where George and Amal Clooney have lived since 2014

Police released CCTV images of a multi-millionaire’s son who vanished in January. Mr Stern disappeared wheeling a suitcase (right) while wearing dark clothing

‘If you have information about his whereabouts contact the non-emergency number 101 or make a report online, quoting the reference 43200016370.’ 

The Environment Agency warned the Thames was swollen following weeks of relentless rain. Many riverside footpaths were under water and people could be swept into the raging watercourses. 

Search teams were searching around the flooded Thames at Sonning, where ex-PM Theresa May lives and where Clooney and wife Amal have a £10million converted millhouse. 

The Missing People Facebook page said he had last been seen in Kensington on Friday, January 9. The post said ‘Alexander we are here for you whenever you are ready; we can listen, talk you through what help you need, pass a message for you and help you to be safe. Call. Text. Anytime. Free. Confidential. 116000.’ 

The police hunt intensified – the Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue team set up a mobile base in the grounds of The Mill at Sonning. 

Some areas were sealed off by police to prevent members of the public from accessing the land. Some villagers fear he is the latest victim of a ‘curse’ – four other people have died on the stretch of river in the last six months. 

Just eight days earlier, on Sunday January 12, a body was recovered from the Thames at Fawley Court, upriver from Sonning, after people reported seeing a man ‘enter the water’. 

In August a 24-year-old man was found in the river at Henley, and a woman was found dead just downstream at Marlow in November. 

Stern went missing a quarter of a mile from Hollywood star George Clooney’s £12million house (pictured), around 7.30pm on Saturday January 11th 

In December Bogdan Skarbeck, 49, from Poland, who lived and worked in Reading, was found dead in the Thames, also near Henley. 

Thames Valley Police are not linking the deaths but one Sonning villager said: ‘Some folk are saying the stretch of river might suddenly have had a curse put on it. 

‘We do get people drowning in the river but to have four in six months is very unusual, and now Mr Stern has gone missing too.’ 

The villager, who asked not to be named, said: ‘George Clooney and his wife have settled in and everyone likes them – they have been very good in helping out with activities and various good causes in the village. 

‘It must be terrible for them to hear about these deaths, specially with the river running past the bottom of their garden.’ 

George and lawyer wife Amal bought the riverside mill house in 2014 and celebrated the birth of twins, Ella and Alexander, in 2017.

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