Tributes paid to tragic teen

EMOTIONAL tributes are being paid today to tragic teenager Natasha Coombs as friends and family come to terms with her death.Police have confirmed that the body found in undergrowth near railway tracks in Lawford - about a mile from Manningtree station - on Friday was that of the 17-year-old from Dovercourt.

EMOTIONAL tributes are being paid today to tragic teenager Natasha Coombs as friends and family come to terms with her death.

Police have confirmed that the body found in undergrowth near railway tracks in Lawford - about a mile from Manningtree station - on Friday was that of the 17-year-old from Dovercourt.

Natasha disappeared on her way home from a meal out with friends in Ipswich on Friday, July 27. She boarded a late-night train at Ipswich and was believed to have got off at Manningtree, but there was no further trace or sightings of the teenager.

A desperate two weeks followed for her parents Gary and Joanne Coombs and boyfriend Josh Brennan, who made a heartfelt appeal for her return just hours before her body was found discovered.

Detectives said a post-mortem had been inconclusive but Natasha's injuries were “consistent with a train strike”.

The former East Bergholt High School's former next door neighbours in the village of Brantham, where she lived until last year, said she had been a happy girl and a pleasure to know.

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Bill and Stephanie Brundell, of Temple Pattle, lived next door to the Coombs family for more than 10 years before the family moved to Fronks Road, Dovercourt.

Mrs Brundell said: “She just seemed to be always on the go and a lovely girl - just a normal teenager. When she was young she used to have lots of friends because it was a new estate and everyone moved in at the same time.”

Mrs Brundell said Natasha's parents were “devoted” to her. She added: “We just watched her grow up, being next door. We've been following it like everybody around here has - we just feel for Joanne and Gary really.”

Eighteen-year-old Craig Gifford, another former neighbour, was one of many people laying flowers at a railway bridge close to where Natasha's body was discovered.

He said Natasha was a popular girl with many friends who would all miss her greatly.

He said: “We used to go to high school together. She was quite a happy person and had a lot of friends as well. Reading the tributes with the flowers, it seems she was always smiling and had friends all over the place. It's very sad.”

N If you would like to pay a tribute to Natasha log on to www.eveningstar.co.uk or write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk