THE PARENTS of Nicola Payne have spoken of the pain of another Christmas without their daughter.
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon (Wednesday), Marilyn and John Payne renewed their plea for help finding their daughter and spoke of the devastation they both continue to feel 25 years after her disappearance.
Describing 2016 as ‘the hardest year’ she’s faced, mother Marilyn shared some of her fondest memories of her daughter and spoke of the hope and determination she and her husband still have in one day knowing the truth about what happened to 18-year-old Nicola.
“After having four boys it was different having a girl,” Marilyn said.
“Anything she wanted to do she’d go and have a go – when the lads were fishing or playing football she had to be out there having a go.
“She thought she could do everything they could do.
“She especially enjoyed horse riding, which her dad took her to.
“Nicola got on with everyone – she was just like any other teenager.”
This December marks the 25th anniversary of the disappearance of mother-of-one Nicola, who went missing while walking home from her boyfriend’s house.
It was a familiar journey across a patch of wasteland, known locally as ‘Black Pad’, that should have taken just five minutes.
But her body has never been found.
And despite the toll it took on herself and her family, Marilyn and John remain committed to remaining positive – arguing it’s the only thing that keeps them going.
Marilyn said: “Even though I tried not to, I built myself up too much for the trial because, I don’t understand everything about the law, but everything I saw was adding up.
“And then it didn’t.”
Nicola’s father, John, said time has not healed his heartache and that his grief has not got easier over the years.
Explaining how he often finds himself thinking about what Nicola would be like now, he said: “I look at her friends and wonder if she’d have turned out like them.
“I see another girl walking down the street with her children and I think would Nicola have been like that.
“It don’t get no easier.
“I just want to find her and will always remain hopeful that someday that will be the case.”
In recent weeks, specialist officers and cadaver dogs from West Midlands Police have carried out searches of woodland in Coombe Abbey Country Park.
The searches are in response to ‘credible’ eye-witness information recently passed on to police.
Marilyn and John have also renewed their plea for anyone with the ‘final piece of the jigsaw’ of information to come forward – no matter how small or inconsequential they believe it to be.
“If it was me, I wouldn’t sleep or rest, I would have to give the information I gave got,” Marilyn said.
“If you have children you would understand.
“Please just look at the piece of jigsaw if you have it and give us our answers from it.
“You will make two elderly people now very happy.”
Anyone with information about Nicola’s disappearance should contact the investigation team on 101 or call Crimestoppers, confidentially on 0800 555 111.