Barrister, 57, feared dead in Seychelles jungle after going missing

Barrister, 57, is feared dead in Seychelles jungle after going missing during hiking trip

  • Peter Clement is former head of chambers at prestigious 2 Harcourt Buildings
  • He set off on a 12-mile walking trail, known for its slippery paths, on May 15
  • But no trace found of Mr Clement during a three-week search operation
  • The police hunt on Silhouette Island, Seychelles, has now been called off
  • A retired top barrister is presumed dead after disappearing while hiking in the jungle in the Seychelles.

    No trace has been found of Peter Clement, 57, in a three-week search with helicopters, boats and drones.

    The police hunt on Silhouette Island for the former head of chambers at prestigious law firm 2 Harcourt Buildings has now been called off.

    Mr Clement, on holiday to celebrate his retirement, set off on the 12-mile Grande Barbe trail, known for its poorly marked and slippery paths, on May 15. 

    It runs from one side of the mountainous island to the other and he is thought to have run into difficulties when bad weather set in.

    His chambers said he had ‘an illustrious career at the criminal bar’ and was ‘loved and respected’.

    Police, the coast guard and the army used helicopters, boats and drones to search for Mr Clement, who had been staying at the Labriz Hilton Hotel.

    Peter Clement (pictured), 57, is the former head of chambers at prestigious law firm 2 Harcourt Buildings

    Peter Clement (pictured), 57, is the former head of chambers at prestigious law firm 2 Harcourt Buildings

    But he is now presumed dead after three weeks with no trace found of the barrister.

    In a statement on its website, Mr Clement’s former chambers 2 Harcourt Buildings, which was set up by British prosecutors returning from the Nuremburg War Crime Trials, said: ‘It is with deep shock and sadness that we must announce the loss of our dear friend, colleague and former head of chambers, Peter Clement.

    ‘He had recently retired after an illustrious career at the Criminal Bar, practising from 2 Harcourt Buildings for over 30 years.

    ‘Before joining chambers he was a captain in the Army legal service and served in Northern Ireland.

    ‘He was much loved and respected by everyone in chambers and also among his many friends at the criminal bar. He will be deeply missed.’

    Four days into the search operation, the local Le Seychellois newspaper reported that the weather had been so severe it was unlikely Mr Clement would be found alive.

    ‘According to the police all his personal belongings and travel documents have been found intact in his hotel room,’ the paper reported.

    ‘In an unusual move, the police have admitted the persisting bad weather conditions we are experiencing the last few days, is diminishing their hope of finding the British man alive.’

    Matthew Scott, a barrister at Pump Court Chambers, described Mr Clement as a ‘fine advocate and a man it was impossible not to like.’

    Author Robert Verkaik, who studied with Mr Clement, said: ‘Extraordinary, funny man with no shortage of opinions, a student mature beyond his years. His Bar career was a credit to his hard work and intelligence.’

    A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed the department was supporting the family of a British man missing in the Seychelles and it was liaising with the local authorities.

    Experts warned that holidaymakers who walked the same trail should not do so alone and should be provided with waterproof GPS trackers that periodically share an exact location.

    One guest cautioned on TripAdvisor: ‘Take a guide from the hotel and you will thank me. The path to get there is not well marked, the part through the forest can be very slippery.’

    Another said that the trail is made up of ‘unmarked slippery paths in the thick tropical rainforest.’