A date has been fixed for a court to rule on whether a Golcar dad-of-one who has been missing for eight years will be legally declared dead.

Steven Cooper left home in Scar Lane on his 47th birthday in January 2008. His car was found near a remote loch in northern Scotland but there was no confirmed sighting and nothing has been heard from him since.

His partner Claire Lodge has made an application to the High Court for a declaration of presumed death. Declarations are often sought so a missing person’s affairs and property can be dealt with.

But Steven’s sister Trish, 47, said the family has never given up hope that he is still alive.

Trish Cooper, sister of missing Golcar man Steven Cooper.

She has said that she appreciates that Claire “has to move on with her life and I have every sympathy with that but my mum is not ready to presume her son dead and I agree with her.”

The family has now been told the application will be heard at the High Court in Leeds on June 27.

Trish said: “It’s a very strange situation in that someone who never met my brother will be deciding whether he is alive or dead.

Read more: Family waits for court date to see if Golcar man will be legally declared dead

Read more: Missing Golcar dad Steven Cooper could be legally declared dead

“We are all in the same situation in that we are wanting a specific outcome from it and somebody effectively has my brother’s life or death in their hands which is very hard for us.

“And it can’t be easy for the judge either.”

Search at Loch Laggan for Steven Cooper. Police about to dive into the lock. Photos courtesy of the Badenoch and Strathspey Herald.

Steven, who has a son Nathan and two grandchildren he has never seen, is believed to have left home at about 3am on January 21.

He left his driving licence, passport, bank cards and more than £100 in cash at home and did not take a change of clothes.

He didn’t leave a note.

His abandoned car was discovered in a remote area near Loch Laggan. Divers searched the loch but found no trace.