Tania Nicol's father makes statement

TANIA Nicol's father has today said he is glad he and his daughter parted on good terms.Miss Nicol, 19, was reported missing by her mother, Kerry Nicol, at 10.45pm.

Naomi Cassidy

TANIA Nicol's father has today said he is glad he and his daughter parted on good terms.

Miss Nicol, 19, was reported missing by her mother, Kerry Nicol, at 10.45pm, on Wednesday, November 1. She was last seen at around 11pm on Monday, October 30, in Ipswich. Her naked body was found by a specialist police diving team in Belstead Brook, near to Copdock Mill, on Friday December 8.

A post mortem carried out to determine the cause of her death was inconclusive.

Following the verdict, a statement by Miss Nicol's father, Jim Duell, was released by police. It reads as follows:

“I am Tania Nicol's father and I have been asked to write about her. First and foremost a parent loves their child. When she was little, Tania was bright and happy, and did well at school, she was lively and forward. She once fell off her three-wheeler, and her nose bled. I was concerned and worried she felt blame as I had not repaired it properly. She was caring and kind, and would dress up in a nurse's uniform and carry out operations on her baby brother Arron. She would put a plaster on him and declare that he was now better. Her mum Kerry took her to Felixstowe quite a lot in the summer at weekends to go on the beach. As for me, I was always working and did not spend as much time as I should have, or could have, with her except when I came home from work for a few hours.

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“I took Tania and her brother Arron, my son, out camping at Saxmundham when she was about nine and we went on the boating lake at Thorpeness. I know that Tania loved me, she would tell me so. There were presents at Christmas, and every Christmas when she got older she would arrange the Christmas tree.

“I went long distance lorry driving and Tania told me that she missed me. She joined the sea cadets when she was about 12 or 13 and met Prince Andrew. She was happy and enjoying herself, her uniform was always neat and smart.

“When she got to a certain age she would truant from school. She must have lost interest. She was training to be a hairdresser, and was good at it. She would come round to my place and cut my hair regularly. She was a good hairdresser. She would also go around selling Avon products and for a while, worked as a chambermaid. Here we have a young teenage girl finding herself around life, and seeking out her future, and all it would hold. I and my daughter were friends, and got on okay. She was okay. She was well liked and popular.

“Her life changed for the worse when she started to smoke cannabis introduced to her by a boyfriend. I was against this relationship for obvious reasons. Cannabis induces laziness, irresponsibility and messes you up. Tania was now 15, although I had separated from Tania's mother some years before, it was amicable and there were no breaks or gaps that I did not see Tania and Arron regularly.

“A couple of years went by. Tania continued training as a hairdresser, I remember giving her a lift in my car to a hairdressing salon, to work as a trainee, and also to pick her up. She was healthy, she looked well and like all teenagers, fashion conscious.

“My dear God, whatever happened to our Tania, as unbeknown to us, she was getting deeper and deeper in the dark horrors of drug addiction.

“As time went on, although she got on okay with her mum, Tania left home and in the end lived in a one-bedroom flat on the same road as me. I thought fine, this is good, we are almost neighbours. I only have to stroll down to see how she is.

“We would go shopping together in the supermarket, and I would buy her things to help her out. I said 'let's do this regularly-every Friday or so. But by now, and once again, unbeknown to us, her life was starting to be controlled by drugs and she was becoming unreliable.

“When she first moved into her flat, I helped her to move stuff in and did the odd jobs around the place, as a father would.

She invited us all around for a meal-me, her mum, Arron, and her half sister Sarah. She cooked us spaghetti bolognese. Everything was clean and nice, and her cat, which was loved, was well looked after. Here is a girl who cared.

“A year down the line, the rent was not being paid (as we found out later). I would go and visit her at a reasonable time of the day or night. Sometimes she would answer-still her usual nice self, other times she would be sleeping during the day. After a time she was politely asked to vacate the flat. She did so, and I helped her to move back to her mums. There were no rows, no complaining-just a peaceful move. By now, as we found out, she was injecting herself.

“We confronted her about this, but she just said that she did not do it anymore and it was ages since she did. She would, once or twice a week, come and see me and ask for a lift home. She would come in and we would talk and I would ask if she needed anything to eat or drink. Just a father and daughter together, nothing complicated.

“We love you Tania-we always will. We had no idea she was going on the streets to fund her addiction.

“The last time I saw her was about two weeks before she disappeared. She knocked on my door, and we talked. I gave her a lift to her mums. We talked about normal things on the way. She got out of my car. It was dark. She walked towards her mum's house and I never saw her anymore.

“We were father and daughter. We were friends. We loved each other as parent to daughter, daughter to father. We respected each other. Although she had a horrible addiction, Tania was no fool. She was a brave young girl. It must have been hell for her to carry on what we now know she was doing and not being able to tell us, or get rid of this habit and dreadful lifestyle. In the end this truthful girl was living a lie, because drugs are a liar and so is alcohol.

“I am thankful we parted as mates. Bless you Tania as you rest in God's peace. Amen.