On Sunday, 21st May, 25 years passed since Carmel Fenech, also known as Carmel Pendry, was last seen. The then 16-year-old resided in the Broadfield area of Crawley and at the time detectives express their concerns that she might have been murdered.
The independent charity, Crimestoppers, is offering a £10,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and subsequent conviction of any individuals connected to her unsolved disappearance.
Carmel was last seen at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court in South London on 21 May 1998, in the company of a man. She failed to return home, and was reported missing by her mother in the following month.
The primary focus of the police investigations since then has been the South London region, where Carmel and her family originally resided. Prior to moving to Crawley less than a year before her disappearance, they lived on the North Peckham Estate. Carmel had a wide circle of friends in that area as well as in nearby Brixton and Stockwell.
However, Carmel had a limited social circle in Crawley and the majority of the gathered information suggests that Brixton and Stockwell were areas she frequently visited before her disappearance.
Carmel’s mother, Deidre Fenech, said: “My family have been left in limbo for 25 years. Not knowing what has happened to my daughter Carmel has had a devastating effect on my physical and mental health. We continue to function because we are a very close family and continue to support each other.
“A huge part of my life is empty without my daughter Carmel. Please if anyone has any information concerning her whereabouts or any other information please let us know so we can finally get an answer. I thank you in advance for your help.”
To be eligible for the reward, any information must be directly submitted to Crimestoppers, either online or via the toll-free phone line 0800 555 111, citing Sussex Operation Icon.
Detective Inspector Chris Rambour, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “Carmel’s disappearance has had widespread media and other publicity over many years, and although no trace of her possible whereabouts has ever been found, her disappearance has not been forgotten.
“We particularly want to identify and speak to the man who Carmel was last seen with on 21 May 1998 as he may be able to provide with information that will assist us with locating her. There is currently no description of him, but he clearly knew her.
“Further lines of enquiry in London were identified by recent reviews and we have been working with the Metropolitan Police to examine these and pursue them where possible, although so far they have not led to any significant developments.
“We have also been keeping in touch with Carmel’s mother, Deidre, and have fully discussed the case with her. She will be kept informed of any developments.
“Together, we and Deidre hope that this renewed appeal, combined with the enquiries we are still carrying out, will jog memories and consciences in South London. The answer is out there and we really want to find out what has happened and help achieve justice and closure for her family, even after all these years.
“We will always examine and wherever possible follow up any other new information that may lead to new lines of enquiry.”
Those with information about Carmel can also reach out to Sussex Police at any time online or by dialing 101, referencing Operation Icon.