Private investigators have said a torn pair of Rebecca Coriam ’s shorts suggest there was a ‘violent struggle’ before she disappeared from a Disney cruise ship.

The former Chester Catholic High School pupil, from Guilden Sutton , was working aboard the Disney Wonder when she vanished as it sailed near the coast of Mexico five years ago.

Her family were given the damaged clothing when picking up their daughter’s possessions just a few days after she went missing.

Investigators say the shorts were Rebecca’s favourite and are evidence of a violent struggle which could have led to her tragic death.

Related: Chester MP says private investigation could reveal the truth

Maritime expert Bill Anderson, who has studied the case, told our sister paper the Liverpool ECHO he was sure ‘something criminal’ happened to Rebecca in March 2011.

Mr Anderson said: “When Rebecca’s family got her clothes back, her favourite shorts were ripped at the front.

“The family want a public enquiry into what happened.”

The 24-year-old’s case was declared ‘not suspicious’ by the investigating Bahamas police department, in the Caribbean, and the American company insisted she was swept overboard.

Mike and Ann Coriam
Mike and Ann Coriam

But that is disputed by her parents Mike and Ann, along with ex Labour deputy Lord John Prescott who has suggested the ship youth worker was ‘thrown over the side’.

Earlier this year the former head of specialist operations at the Metropolitan Police Commander Roy Ramm joined the hunt to find out to the truth.

Chester MP Chris Matheson , and his predecessor Stephen Mosley, have also leant their support to the campaign.

Commander Roy Ramm and Chris Matheson MP
Commander Roy Ramm and Chris Matheson MP

Suspicion has grown over Rebecca’s presumed death after it emerged her credit card was used in May 2011, two months after she went missing.

A catalogue of anomalies has stacked up over her case, including a pair of flip flops which Disney insisted were found near the edge of Deck Five - where they insisted she went overboard - but not taken away by police for forensic examination..

Further concerns emerged when the Coriam family noticed the footwear was a size-and-a-half too small for Rebecca, and her friends confirmed they never saw her wearing them.

Parents Ann and Mike are sceptical their daughter could have been swept over a 6ft-plus high wall, although that was the spot Disney insisted upon and where they laid flowers on deck.