Hunt for Dinah's body continues

DETECTIVES hunting for missing Essex student Dinah McNicol have vowed to carry on digging at a property in Margate after human remains found there turned out to be those of another woman.

DETECTIVES hunting for missing Essex student Dinah McNicol have vowed to carry on digging at a property in Margate after human remains found there turned out to be those of another woman.

Police initially believed they might have discovered the body of the Tillingham teenager - who vanished 16 years ago on her way home from a rock concert - at the former Kent home of Scotsman Peter Tobin.

But yesterday it was confirmed that the skeleton found buried in the house's small garden on Tuesday was that of 15-year-old Vicky Hamilton, who went missing in February 1991 in Scotland.

However, police said they still believed Miss McNicol's body could still be at Tobin's former home and would continue to search for it.

Tobin has already been charged in connection with Hamilton's disappearance and is suspected of being involved in a number of other serious crimes against women.

Detective Superintendent Tim Wills, of Essex Police, told a press conference at Margate: “The human remains found at the house in Margate are not those of Dinah McNicol. The body and the personal effects have been identified as of Vicky Hamilton.

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“Vicky and Dinah's family have been informed. As a result of this development, Lothian and Borders Police will pick up the investigation.

“A man has been charged with the disappearance of Vicky Hamilton and a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

“Meanwhile, Essex Police continues in earnest for the job we came here to do.

“We had reasons to come here. Those reasons still exist. We came here for Dinah. And we haven't yet finished.

“We came here to search for Dinah McNicol or any physical evidence which might link her disappearance to that house.

“There is a chance that she is here. In fairness to the family we need to fully answer the question as to whether she was here at any time.

“I do not intend to leave the house until I'm fully satisfied that there is not any other human remains at that site.”

He added that once a ground level search had been completed, a “deep search” would be undertaken which could take “a number of days”.

Police will begin house-to-house enquiries in Irvine Drive, Margate, this morning, he said.

Yesterday Ian McNicol, 68, of Tillingham, the father of former Chelmsford County High School for Girls pupil Miss McNicol, said: “I know the police have said it's not Dinah's remains they found but I still think she could be there.

“They are going to continue to rip up the garden - it won't be the end of the search.

“I'm a bit upset it's not Dinah they found. We were hoping to get to the end so we could grieve. Now the wait goes on.

“I just want to pass on my condolences to the family of the girl they have found.

“Our families have an affinity because of what we've been through and I know how they must be feeling.”

Miss McNicol, 18, of Tillingham, Essex, disappeared in the same year as Vicky after attending a music festival in Liphook, Hampshire.

Detectives reopened their inquiry into her death last week and said information had led them to a house in Margate where Tobin once lived.

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