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Father of murdered Dinah McNicol speaks out over use of Margate home

Ian McNicol
Ian McNicol

Exclusive by Martin Jefferies

"It feels like the carpet has been pulled up and my daughter's ashes swept underneath."

Dinah McNicol
Dinah McNicol

That's how the elderly father of murdered teenager Dinah McNicol described his emotions after learning that the Margate house where his daughter's remains were found continues to be used as a family home.

Ian McNicol visited the house of horrors in Irvine Drive in November 2007, shortly after detectives made their grim discovery.

The council home was boarded up after its dark secrets were uncovered but the property has since been let to new tenants.

Speaking exclusively to the KM Group, Mr McNicol, from Tillingham, Essex, said: "It's as if no one will acknowledge that my daughter was buried in Irvine Drive.

"I wanted the house knocked down and replaced with a memorial to Dinah but that was refused by Thanet council.

"They would rather have new tenants living in the house but how can you possibly allow that without telling people what happened there in the past?

"These people may have children or grandchildren who could be innocently playing in the garden where Dinah’s remains were found."

During the police investigation at Irvine Drive, it was mooted that number 50 could be demolished, as happened at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, where serial killers Fred and Rosemary West buried nine of their victims.

At the time, Cllr Zita Wiltshire, cabinet member for housing at Thanet council, said demolition might be considered but warned: "It’s too early to tell if this is a realistic option."

The authority decided to re-let the house after speaking to local residents.

A spokesman for Thanet council said: "The overwhelming response from the community was that they wanted to see the property being reused to house families in need.

"The council wrote to the victims of the families to inform them of the situation and the tenants living there are fully aware of the history of the property."

A tree of remembrance similar to one at Dinah’s former school in Chelmsford - one of the only permanent memorials to her - could still be planted in Thanet, the council said.

Dinah was 18-years-old when she went missing in August 1991 on the way home to Tillingham from a music festival in Hampshire.

Her body was found 16 years later in Margate wrapped in heavy-duty refuse bags and buried under concrete.

The corpse of a second teenager - Falkirk schoolgirl Vicky Hamilton - was found just metres away in the same back garden.

Peter Tobin, 63, was jailed for life in December for Dinah’s murder.
A year earlier, the handyman, from Johnstone, Renfrewshire, was given a life sentence for killing Vicky, who disappeared while waiting for a bus in Bathgate, West Lothian, in February 1991, aged 15-years-old.

Tobin had already been convicted of the murder of Polish student Angelika Kluk, whose body he hid in a Glasgow church in 2006.

Mr McNicol, a former jazz musician, says his daughter’s death is still "very painful".

"She will always be my daughter," he said. The 70-year-old added: "I’m glad for me and my family that the man responsible for Dinah’s murder is behind bars where he cannot hurt anyone else.

"I haven’t been back to Irvine Drive since 2007 but I’m grateful to all those in Margate who have leant their support over the past couple of years."

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