Please let Natasha go

JON WELCH The parents of missing teenager Natasha Coombs have made an emotional appeal for their daughter's return and spoke of their fears that somebody may have harmed her.

JON WELCH

The parents of missing teenager Natasha Coombs have made an emotional appeal for their daughter's return and spoke of their fears that somebody may have harmed her.

Her father, Gary, a senior executive for Norwich Union, said: “As each day goes by and there's no phone call from the police to say that they've found a body, that's a huge positive for us. But when you go to sleep at night you think the worst.”

Natasha, 17, went missing 13 days ago after a night out with friends in Ipswich.

Police believe Natasha had become upset about splitting up from her boyfriend during the evening she disappeared, after meeting two friends for a meal in Ipswich.

CCTV footage of Natasha at Ipswich station at 10.42pm on July 27 remains the last confirmed sighting of her.

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A signal from her mobile phone was last traced near Manningtree station, where she should have changed trains to travel home to Dovercourt, Essex.

Speaking in a television interview, Natasha's parents said they doubted she could be staying with friends not known to them.

“I would have thought it was highly unlikely. Natasha has lots and lots of friends, boy and girl friends, but I think it's highly unlikely that she could be with somebody that we're unaware of,” said Mr Coombs, 47, who works in Norwich as a mergers and acquisitions manager for the insurance firm.

Natasha's mother, Joanne, 40, said: “We feel she wouldn't ever do this to us.”

The couple said they had found it hard to sleep since their daughter's disappearance. Mrs Coombs said: “It's best not to sleep because when you close your eyes the visions come.”

Mr Coombs said: “When I wake up in the morning I've got such a pain in my stomach and it seems the only way I can get rid of it is by sleep, but to get sleep is becoming more difficult for both of us.

“During the day I feel numb in the morning and then we have a briefing from the police. It's something to grasp: there may be a positive lead - maybe something very, very small but it's a lead - and we start to talk about what else she could be doing and that lifts us up into the evening before we go to bed.”

Asked what thoughts crossed his mind late at night, Mr Coombs said: “Unfortunately it's the bad things, the bad scenarios, because obviously there is a scenario out there that will lead to Natasha and just before you close your eyes at night it's the bad ones.”

Fighting back tears, the couple spoke of their love for their daughter and their desperation to get her back.

“She's my life. My job is a housewife and to me it means looking after my husband and my daughter and there isn't a thing I wouldn't do for her - not a thing,” said Mrs Coombs.

She said she had not been aware of anything that might be causing Natasha anxiety or depression.

“If Natasha had any problems I'm sure her main concern would be not maybe to share that side. She wouldn't want me to worry over them.”

Mr Coombs said he had texted his daughter to ask if she wanted to be picked up from Dovercourt station, but she replied at 11.01pm to say: “No, I've booked a taxi.”

About 30 minutes earlier, Natasha had called her parents to say she was on her way home. Mrs Coombs said it was just a normal conversation and lasted a few seconds.

Referring to CCTV pictures of Natasha at Ipswich station, Mr Coombs said: “I just wish that I was there to pick her up. We've never been asked to pick her up from Ipswich but I wish we were there. She just looks so alone. She is our baby.”

Discussing the possibility that someone might have abducted Natasha, Mr Coombs said: “I can't come up with any words to describe what I would think of that person, or why a person would do that to anybody.”

Mrs Coombs said: “If somebody has got her, please just let her go.

“She doesn't belong with you - she's ours.”

In a separate interview, Mrs Coombs said her daughter had never been missing before but had stayed out overnight with friends on occasions.

“There may have been times when she'd had a little drink and stayed at a friend's house, but she would always call us in the morning or just turn up at home,” she said.

Mr Coombs said: “It would have been completely out of character for her to take off. She would take solace with Joanne and myself.

“Joanne was Natasha's best friend without a shadow of doubt. They shared everything together.

“If Natasha is suffering from heartache or she has some problems, we are there for her. Whatever it is, we will make it better for her.

“We will talk to her and make the problem disappear. We would prefer to suffer with her. She is such an integral part of our lives and we need her to come back.”

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t POLICE HUNT FOR MISSING HANDBAG AND MOBILE

Police have released pictures of the handbag and mobile phone Natasha had been carrying in a bid to help people recall whether they saw her that evening.

CCTV images show she was still carrying the black Fiorelli Dodo handbag when she was on the platform at Ipswich station.

It is thought she then boarded the 11.42pm train to Manningtree.

Her phone, a top-of-the-range, bright pink Samsung model with MP3 player, was active that evening but has not been used since that night.

Officers said she would have been very noticeable in her bright pink skirt, white jacket and black bag, especially if people recalled her using the bright pink phone.

Police also want to hear from anyone who finds either the bag or the phone discarded.

If they are found they should be left alone and

the police called immediately.

Officers are also appealing for four men believed to have been travelling on the same train as Natasha to come forward.

The teenager has not been since boarding the late-night train from Ipswich station on July 27.

Chief Insp Steve Robinson, of Essex police, appealed for three men in suits and a smartly-dressed man carrying a briefcase to come forward.

He said: “We know she was looking forward to going out on that Friday night.

“We know at some point in the evening she became upset. The suggestion is she became upset about the situation with her boyfriend.”

He said officers were investigating whether Natasha had ordered a taxi to take her home from the railway station.

Anyone with information about Natasha's disappearance, or who finds her phone or bag, is asked to contact Clacton police station on 01255 221312.

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