Tania's father warns of drugs' scourge

TANIA Nicol's grieving father today issued a stark warning to parents who suspect their children are taking drugs, urging them to take action or face “painful consequences”.

TANIA Nicol's grieving father today issued a stark warning to parents who suspect their children are taking drugs, urging them to take action or face “painful consequences”.

Jim Duell, 59, whose 19-year-old daughter was one of five women allegedly murdered in Ipswich's red light killings, told how Tania's life had spiralled out of control at the hands of heroin and crack cocaine.

Speaking from his home in Stone Lodge Lane West, Ipswich, Mr Duell said he wanted some good to come from Tania's death and other parents to know the devastation drugs can cause.

He said Tania was once “a happy little girl” and a member of Ipswich sea scouts had lost all of her ambition and drive because of class A drugs.

The former lorry driver and taxi driver said: “She was in the sea scouts up until she was about 15 and then she started smoking this stuff and I think it's only the last year and a half that you might say she stopped living a routine life.

“She was a trainee hairdresser. I used to give her a lift to the hairdressing shops.

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“She didn't mention hairdressing for the last six months. This drug thing it blots out your ordinary life and you just don't seem to care anymore. You're hooked on this chemical and your life revolves around the intake of it.”

He said he and Tania's mother Kerry Nicol knew something was going on with their daughter but they did not realise how serious the problem had become.

Mr Duell explained that the family had sat around the table together and attempted to challenge her but she had been reluctant to open up about her problem.

He added: “She just didn't want to know. She didn't want to own up to it.

“She was doing it much more than what we realised.

“We were obviously concerned but apart from putting her in a straight-jacket and carting her away by force what can you do?

“I think if you questioned her too closely she became very evasive about it because they don't want to admit what they're getting up to.”

Mr Duell said his daughter's drug addiction had started with cigarettes, then cannabis and later with what they believe was heroin and possibly crack cocaine.

He said in the last few months of her life she had been a bit on edge and “difficult to pin down”.

Tania had told her father lies and become unreliable because, he said, she had become “a slave” to the drugs.

He warned other parents they had to take it seriously if they had suspicions their child was using drugs, adding: “I would say a lot of parents don't know what their kids are getting up do.

“I would keep a closer eye on their children. If they suspect their kids are on drugs they are going to end up with painful consequences if they don't nip it in the bud.

“There's questions that I would have asked Tania that I realise I could have asked. I could have said 'you know that we love you, can you tell us anything in your life that you think we might be upset about. Can you just tell us because we're here to help you'?

“If you think your child is taking drugs then take it very seriously. Forget the liberal attitude - the kids are serious about taking drugs so you as a parent have got to be as serious as they are to get them off it.”

He said he did not know Tania was working as a prostitute, a trade which ultimately led her into the arms of her alleged killer.

He added: “To go down and do what she was doing it had to be just to get the drug.

“It's not work is it. You're degrading yourself while not knowing that you are. You don't realise with the drugs.

“Of course she was worth more than that. It was only because the drugs took such a strong hold on her.

“What I say now is how long would she have taken this drug? How much deeper would she have gone into this nightmare of a life. Now she's resting in peace and she's out of it.

“She doesn't have to go down there standing around at night anymore. She doesn't have to be a slave to a dangerous chemical anymore.”

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