A BLACKBURN mum last night spoke of her relief that she may finally be able to lay her son to rest.

Yesterday two judges ruled that a body pulled from the River Mersey could be Blackburn man, David Adams, who went missing in 1996.

The body was found 16 days after David Adams disappeared 15 years ago, but officers were not able to confirm the identity at the time.

Now, after her family uncovered new evidence, David’s mum Joan has won a High Court bid allowing a second inquest to take place into the unidentified man’s death.

Joan Adams, 77, of Kelsall Avenue, Little Harwood, Blackburn, said David, 27, left for Liverpool in a ‘happy’ mood on June 3, 1996.

The former Blackburn College student, who had a history of depression and schizophrenia, told his mum he was going to visit the set of his favourite soap Brookside.

But he never returned home.

Police notified Mrs Adams they had found a body in the River Mersey on June 19.

However, due to the scale of decomposition, police failed to confirm the man’s identity.

The body was buried in Allerton. Recently Mrs Adams’ grandson Mark Hughes, 21, from Blackburn, contacted Lancashire Police and asked them to reopen the case.

Officers looked through the file and found evidence that the original investigators in Merseyside had missed.

This included the body being found with exact clothing - a white T-shirt with Montana written on it - which David was last seen in, as well as marks on the arm which matched his.

It is not known why the original police failed to make those connections.

Lancashire officers helped arrange for High Court judges to review the file.

Yesterday two judges, sitting at London's High Court, paved the way for a second inquest after ruling it was ‘possible at least’ that the fresh hearing - a date for which has yet to be set - may finally identify the body as Mrs Adams' son.

The body will not be exhumed. Instead the coroner will be asked to rule whether, on the balance of probabilities, the body pulled from the River Mersey was her son.

Mrs Adams said: “I never gave up hope. I don’t like the thought of him dying but it means that I will know at last that he has been found.

“It is not the best of things but at least I will know.

“At least I will know what’s happened. They keep saying about having his body exhumed, but let him rest in peace.

“I think about him every day. If I can find out anything I will be relieved that it will be solved.”

Mrs Adams said she remembered her son for having a ‘lovely nature’.

She said: “He was a loving and affectionate son. He loved his soaps and music.

“David was a soft hearted, good person. I have always protected him. He was a mummy’s boy."

Mrs Adams told of the last time she saw her son: “He told me he was going to Liverpool for the day.

“He used to watch Brookside and wanted to see the set.

“He had very, very bad depression but he seemed very, very happy when he left about 9am.

“I was going to Bolton to visit my family. He said he would be back at the train station at five or six.

“I waited for an hour at Blackburn train station but he didn’t come off the train and I went home, because I might have missed him.

“I waited and waited then 48 hours later I called police.

“Since the police told me they found a body I have always hoped it wasn’t him and I always felt sorry for the person whose son it was.

“I thought he could have been alive somewhere for the last 15 years because I never wanted to give up hope.

"But this will be a relief.”