Parents who have been through agony

PUBLISHED: 18:40 19 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:21 03 March 2010

GRAHAM and Lorinda Hall have been through every

agonising and tortuous emotion imaginable in the past two years.

Dread, panic, fear, terror, horror,

sorrow, grief, the depths of misery, hopelessness, even anger.

GRAHAM and Lorinda Hall have been through every

agonising and tortuous emotion imaginable in the past two years.

Dread, panic, fear, terror, horror,

sorrow, grief, the depths of misery, hopelessness, even anger.

And it doesn't get any easier.

They can never shut out the fact that their precious and dearly loved and cherished daughter Vicky is dead.

They may be able to smile and laugh sometimes, share a joke with friends, cheer on their favourite football team, relax on holiday, immerse themselves in work or in the hum-drum of everyday life.

But they can never escape the reality that Vicky is gone. That she will never walk through their front door again, never be the voice on the end of the phone, never see her sunny smile or blonde hair.

Thoughts of Vicky are never far away.

Sometimes it is as if it is all a dream, a horrible nightmare from which they will wake. Other times it seems so real and as if they haven't moved on – as if they are still in those unbearable and mind-numbing days of September 1999.

Through all the pain, Graham and Lorinda have both been immensely brave, and are an extraordinary couple.

Having interviewed them many times since that morning when it was announced to the world that Vicky was missing, I have every admiration for them.

They have bared their souls in public in the hope that publicity would first bring back the daughter they adored, and then to try to catch her killer.

The sorrow in their eyes and the

constant fight to hold back the tears was evident for all to see and

sometimes it did become too much.

What it was like for them in private, one cannot even imagine.

Few people can ever remotely relate to what Graham and Lorinda and their son Steven, just 15 when his sister

disappeared from their lives, have been going through.

Fewer still can understand what it has been like.

Just over two years ago the Halls were an ordinary family, living uncomplicated lives in their three-bed detached house in a quiet close in Faulkeners Way, Trimley St Mary.

Graham, now 47, sold books to schools for a living, while Lorinda, now 45, worked at a stationers in Felixstowe. Their pretty daughter Vicky was halfway through her A-levels and son Steven working towards GCSEs.

But then their lives were turned upside down and would never be the same again.

Confusion reigned after the first moments of waking for breakfast on Sunday, September 19, as they

discovered that 17-year-old Vicky was not in her bed, followed by panic and frantic phone calls to her best friend Gemma Algar.

They went through Vicky's address book, ringing everyone they thought she might have stayed the night with, but drew a blank.

Worry soon spread to fear as it became clear that Vicky had apparently vanished, and the police were called in.

Because the teenager was such a

home-loving, sensible girl and her

disappearance so out of character, even the police could not disguise their concern, leaving Graham and Lorinda nothing but dread and torment.

In the days that followed it was agonising as hope slipped away by the hour, leaving the greatest fear of all: that she had not run away and was not being held hostage somewhere, but had been killed.

Then, the discovery of a body in a drainage ditch along the edge of a field 24 miles away at Creeting St Peter. The

family's worst fears were confirmed.

They say that time is a great healer, but losing a child is every parent's biggest nightmare. No amount of time will ever remove that pain.

Graham and Lorinda clung to each other, as they had done in public, seeking the strength to come to terms with what had happened.

Lorinda sought solace in her belief in God and went privately to the village church to pray and spend time quietly alone, seeking God, seeking answers and seeking peace and strength for an

unbearable ordeal.

Graham was inconsolable – racked by his own thoughts and questions and grief, he did not know where to turn.

Each day was a nightmare and each day was as hard to get through as the one before and the one to come.

Looking back on the first anniversary of Vicky's death and with the killer still at large, Lorinda said: "The person who killed Vicky didn't just take her life but also took part of our life away because she was part of us, and nothing will ever bring that back.

"The pain and enormous sense of loss is just there all the time. It doesn't seem

possible that a year has gone by – we are still back in September last year.

"She is in our thoughts every day,

constantly. They say time is a healer, but we have not found that yet."

Although they both say that for much of the time it has seemed like it was all

happening to someone else, they have done everything possible to assist the police and the media.

They have given interview after

interview, patiently answering questions, never fazed, always helpful in the full glare of the media spotlight – national and local TV, radio and press.

They also say that they have tried to avoid as much as possible seeing all the publicity about their daughter – they have avoided reading the newspaper, not watched TV if they know there is a news item coming up about her.

They avoided watching the Crimewatch appeal for information because they could not bear to watch the reconstruction of their daughter's last hours alive.

They did see the CCTV film of her taken at the Bandbox nightclub that night -– shown the grainy images of a happy, laughing young woman privately by the police before it was released to the media.

Lorinda went back to work to try to bring some normality to her life and give herself something to occupy her day.

Graham found it far more difficult to settle and it was many months before he could again face work and has had

several different jobs since.

They have both protected their son Steven from the glare of the media

spotlight, helping him back to school and through his GCSEs, showering with their love and being there for him at every moment.

Their love of football and their close involvement with the Trimley Red Devils has given them an activity in which to immerse themselves, as has their work as trustees of The Evening Star-spearheaded appeal to build a memorial to Vicky.

It's not a way to forget or even to put thoughts of Vicky aside. That they can never do.

But it is a way of carrying on with life – getting through the agony of the days and weeks and months without her.

They have also both longed for justice for their daughter, for the mystery of her death to be solved, for other young girls to feel safe again late at night out and about in their community.

They have said that they don't know how they will feel about justice. In fact, they had almost given up hope that anyone would ever be charged when Adrian Bradshaw – who lived just 200 yards from them – was suddenly arrested.

"We do have an incompleteness and we would want to know why and who – but it will not change anything. It will not bring her back," said Graham.

"I go over in my head so many things about that night. Why didn't it rain, really hammer down, like the next two nights, so they would have rung me or got a taxi? It doesn't alter anything at all and there is no point to it.

"The only thing which is relevant to us is the sense of loss and you have to live with that all the time. It is possible to live with, but it is not possible to come to terms with it."

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