Search continues for Natasha

FEARS were growing today for the safety of missing teen Natasha Coombs, who disappeared after a night out in Ipswich a week ago.As officers prepared to search an area of Lawford Dale, near Manningtree station, the 17-year-old's family made an impassioned plea for anyone with information about her disappearance to contact police.

FEARS were growing today for the safety of missing teen Natasha Coombs, who disappeared after a night out in Ipswich a week ago.

As officers prepared to search an area of Lawford Dale, near Manningtree station, the 17-year-old's family made an impassioned plea for anyone with information about her disappearance to contact police.

Natasha's distraught father Gary Coombs and his wife, Joanne, broke down as they made an appeal for help in finding her.

Mr Coombs, 48, said: “It is so, so hard being without our Natasha. She is our only child. She is our family. She is our life. She is everything.

“We want her to know that she has nothing at all to worry about, we just want to see her and know she is OK. If she's with anyone it doesn't matter, we just want to hear from her. If anyone knows anything at all about where she is please, please tell the police.”

Natasha was last seen boarding a train at Ipswich station on Friday at about 10.15pm as she headed home to Dovercourt after enjoying a meal with two girlfriends.

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Missing posters have been placed at Ipswich railway station in the hope passengers will remember seeing her as she travelled home.

The former East Bergholt High School student's page on popular internet site Bebo has been flooded with messages of support from friends. One friend, Becca, wrote: “Come home safe princess.”

Police have recovered CCTV footage of Natasha boarding a train at Ipswich but they say there were no cameras on the train and cameras at Manningtree station were not working. British Transport Police are also helping with the search.

Inspector Adrian Dearsley, the officer in charge of the investigation, said: “She left her friends in the area of Cardinal Park, Ipswich, and we know from CCTV that she was at the station and got on the train (to Manningtree).

“We're fairly certain that she got off the train at Manningtree and went no further down the line.”

Mr Coombs, a mergers and acquisitions manager who works in Norwich, spoke of his “unimaginable pain” at Natasha's disappearance and insisted it was “not normal behaviour” for her.

Speaking at a press conference at Clacton Police Station yesterday afternoon, Mr Coombs said: “She was very happy - she had just started a job. Ipswich was a regular haunt and it was just like any other evening.”

Natasha contacted her parents shortly before boarding the train and told them she had booked a taxi home from Dovercourt station.

After examining records, police have concluded that her phone was switched off shortly after 11.15pm, while she is thought to have waited for a connection at Manningtree station, and has not been active since.

Insp Dearsley said: We're trying to find her mobile phone and any other personal items. If anyone has found a mobile phone recently in that area we need to know, because it could provide a vital clue.”

Natasha is described as being white, 5ft 3in, slim with brown highlighted hair. She was wearing a purple sequinned top, a purple, pink and white ra-ra skirt, a white jacket and pumps.

Do you know Natasha Coombs? Do you want to send a message of support to her family? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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