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Police begin new search in missing teenager investigation


Police investigating the disappearance of a teenager 21 years ago are to start searching parkland following new information about the case.

West Midlands Police said a number of specialist teams will begin to scour an area of cordoned-off parkland off Purcell Road in Coventry in connection with the disappearance of Nicola Payne.

She was 18 when she went missing from the Wood End area of the city on the afternoon on December 14 1991 on her way from her home in Winston Avenue to her parents' house.

Despite extensive inquiries, she has not been seen since.

West Midlands Police said initial searches will be carried out on the area of parkland by scientists from the Home Office Centre for applied science and technology (Cast) using ground X-ray and metal detection equipment.

They will be supported by a specially trained police dog, search officers from West Midlands Police Operational Support Unit (OSU) and a Forensic Scene Manager.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Markham, from Force CID, said: “Today's activity is as a direct result of new information which has been developed by detectives working on the case.

“The investigation into Nicola's disappearance has always remained open and any new information has been examined.

“We are today continuing to appeal for new information and would urge the local community to think back as to whether they saw anything suspicious on or around the 14 December 1991, either at this location or where Nicola was last sighted, near to the Black Pad in Wood End, to come forward if they have not previously done so.”

Miss Payne's family are aware of the latest development in the investigation and said in a statement: “It has been nearly 21 years since our daughter Nicola went missing.

For many years we have suffered, not knowing what has happened to her. Today demonstrates that there are people still providing vital and important information to the police around her disappearance.

“If there is anyone who has information that will assist the police around this new site or witnessed anything around this location back in December 1991, please make contact with the officers.

“We are appealing as a family to find Nicola and to give us the clue we deserve. We fully support West Midlands Police at this time.”

Anyone with information should contact police at Coventry on 101 and ask for Operation Blockley, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.