TWO MEN have been charged with the murder of missing Coventry mother, Nicola Payne, who disappeared 23 years ago.
Nigel Barwell, aged 51 from Copperas Street, and Thomas O’Reilly, aged 50 from Ribble Road, were charged today (Tuesday, January 27) and have been remanded into custody.
Both men were originally arrested last December in connection with the 19 year old’s disappearance on December 14, 1991, and have since been on conditional bail while enquiries continued.
But, this week, following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, Barwell and O’Reilly were charged with Nicola’s abduction and murder.
DI Martin Slevin, who is leading the investigations, said: “Today’s charges follow months of extensive enquiries by a team of dedicated officers who are investigating the disappearance of Nicola.
“But I want to reassure Nicola’s family and the local community that the search for Nicola will continue.
“Over the past year a number of sites have been searched and these investigations will carry on.
“I would like to thank the local community for their support and those people who have come forward to provide information about Nicola’s disappearance, but I believe that there are still people out there with vital information yet to come forward and I appeal to them directly to contact us.
“Will always assess and act on any new information.”
Nicola Payne went missing while she was walking from her boyfriend’s address to her parents’ house 23 years ago.
At the time she had a seven month old son.
The investigation has remained on-going, but was re-opened in 2012 following new information which came to light.
In December last year officers revealed breakthrough in the inquiry and that a number of items had been sent for forensic testing.
The men will appear before Birmingham Magistrates Court tomorrow (Wednesday January, 28).
A 52-year-old year old woman who was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice has been released without charge.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the police on 101 or confidentially call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
When Nicola Payne went missing in 1991, she left behind her six month-old son, Owen. s
Marilyn and John Payne had continued to search for their missing daughter. Picture by Jon Mullis 51.012.003.cov.jm5