Police fears for Natasha

A lack of closed circuit television footage is hampering detectives trying to find a Norwich Union manager's teenage daughter who disappeared without a trace after a night out with friends just over a week ago.

Police searching for a Norwich Union manager's teenage daughter last night admitted they may not find her alive.

Detectives trying to find Natasha Coombs, who disappeared without a trace after a night out with friends just over a week ago, also said they were being hampered by a lack of CCTV cameras.

Natasha, whose father works as a mergers and acquisitions manager for NU, was last seen boarding a train in Ipswich at 11.15pm last Friday. The 17-year-old, who has not gone missing before, was due to go on holiday today with her parents to Toronto, Canada, which she was said to be looking forward to.

Police said a signal from her mobile phone was last traced near to Manningtree station, where she should have changed trains to travel home.

Search teams were yesterday combing woodland near the railway station in the hope of finding clues.

Last night, Insp Adrian Dearsley, who is leading the inquiry, said: “I am still hopeful of finding Natasha but as time goes on we must look to the possibility of finding a body.”

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He added: “We need to know if she got off the train at Manningtree and, if she did, what happened after that.”

PC Heather Alston, a police search adviser, said: “We are dealing with a young girl who has effectively disappeared from the face of the earth, which is very concerning.”

A web page appealing for help in tracing the missing teenager has been set up on the online networking site Bebo.

Police have CCTV footage showing the teenager boarding a train in Ipswich, but they say there were no cameras on the train and cameras at Manningtree station in Essex, where Natasha should have changed trains, were not working.

Natasha vanished about an hour after telling her parents that she was en-route to her home in Dovercourt, Essex, after a Chinese meal with two girlfriends.

Last night, police said officers would be scrutinising CCTV footage from every railway station along the Norwich to London mainline and branches off from Manningtree to see if they could find any trace of the teenager.

There have been unconfirmed sightings of Natasha in Norfolk, but police said there had been no further sightings in the last 24 hours.

A police spokesman also said a taxi driver who told police he saw a girl matching Natasha's description in Long Stratton at about midday on Sunday may have been mistaken.

Mr Coombs, 48, and his wife Joanne, 40, broke down as they made an emotional appeal for help in finding their daughter.

Mr Coombs spoke of the “unimaginable pain” the pair were suffering and added: “It is pain like you cannot imagine, every day.

“It is so, so hard being without our Natasha. She is our only child. She is our family. She is our life.”

Natasha is white, 5ft 3in, slim with brown highlighted hair. When last seen she was wearing a purple sequinned top, a purple, pink and white skirt, a white jacket and pumps.