What happened to Carmel Fenech
Carmel Fenech aka Carmel Michaela Pendry went missing on May 21st 1998, she has never been seen again. She was 16 years old.
Some online sleuths have approached me to cover this story and give my thoughts and of course, I am happy to do so.
Carmel grew up on the north Peckham estate in London and was last seen outside Camberwell Magistrates Court on May 21st 1998 in the company of an unidentified black male. She was never seen again and was reported missing a month later.
This youngster was half Maltese so had a tanned/olive skin complexion and was only five feet tall and had a two-inch long scar in the middle of her forehead. The most important part of Carmel’s description is that she had one leg a little shorter than the other, and this caused her to limp. Did you know Carmel? Were you a friend from the estate where she grew up perhaps?
It seems that the 16-year-old had a severe crack cocaine addiction after becoming mixed up with a group of addicts in Peckham, London and it is alleged that she had been sexually groomed by male predators since she was 14. I have been informed that Carmel was abused by these vile men who seriously exploited her.
Carmel’s mother says that she believes her daughter’s disappearance involves the drugs underworld, in which she had unfortunately become mixed up in.
Her mother told The Sun newspaper “My daughter was beautiful, she had her whole life ahead of her, she was intelligent, she was funny — she just got eaten up by vultures.
“When Carmel started secondary school, she was bullied. She had one leg slightly shorter than the other and became the brunt of cruel jokes. Classmates called her hop-along, limpy — that sort of thing. So her way to get the others on side is to be part of the ‘in crowd’, to be the class clown.
“Then, when she was about 14 years old, she asked me to go to this party with school friends. So I said of course she can go to this kid’s party.
“What I didn’t know at the time, it was there she was then introduced to crack cocaine at this so-called party.
“I didn’t realise she had a drug problem for quite some time. At first, I thought it was the usual teenage angst.
“But she started staying out nights, pretending she was with friends. She would go away for a few days and come back or I’d trawl the streets hunting for her to bring her home.
“Neighbours had begun to tell me that Carmel had been spotted at local crack houses.
“I was devastated when I discovered she was taking cocaine and pleaded with her to stop.”
Her family decided to move away from the area and on to Crawley in order to get Carmel away from her abusers and help her to establish a better chance in life but it seems that the teenager maintained her contact with the males and probably went there on the day that she vanished, although this cannot be confirmed.
The family had not long made their move and of course, the teenager had established friends and family on the estate where she grew up as well as in the Stockwell and Brixton areas of London.
Police do believe that Carmel has come to harm and was most likely murdered, but no one can be sure. She was not reported missing until five weeks after she vanished, the reason for this is unclear, but of course, this causes a huge gap in the investigation.
Despite police appeals, the black male with whom Carmel was last seen has never come forward to give his version of events or even to clear himself of any involvement in the case. If that male was you or indeed you know who he was, it’s never too late, contact the police and tell them what you know.
Carmel’s mother, Deidre said that she is very disappointed with the media and the pretty limited coverage that the missing teenager’s story received in comparison to Madeleine McCann.
Deirdre said, “Any missing person or child deserves all the publicity that they can be given”. “People looked at us as if we were scum from Peckham because we don’t live in a posh house and because our children had problems”.
I have to echo Deirdre Fenech on this, it is often the case in my experience, particularly when it comes to missing addicts or sex workers, the media virtually seems to ignore them and the families are badly let down. Remember, every one of us is human and every one of us has a mum, dad, brother, sister or someone that cares for us and loves us.
There are far too many missing persons cases and murders that seem to be very quickly forgotten about and I strongly urge my fellow writers, podcasters and YouTubers to focus on these cases and get them out there in the public eye.
Carmel’s mother spent years wandering around the streets of Brixton, Stockwell and Peckham searching for her daughter, unfortunately without success. She states that she had very little support in the latter years from the police or the media.
Deidre Fenech says that she believes the police did not do enough to find Carmel because she was “just another addict”, a troubled teenager with a drug problem. That really is not acceptable.
Sussex Police said that Carmel’s case has not been forgotten and that back in 2015 they had given the case to the serious crimes unit. Their spokesperson said “We will always examine and wherever possible follow up any new information that may lead to new lines of enquiry.
“Although there are no current developments in this case it will of course be assessed again as part of our regular process for such unresolved cases.”
I have been made aware that there is a group on social media, Facebook called The Criminology Sisters who are particularly interested in this case and the cases of Missing females, Leah Croucher and Georgina Gharsallah, if they want to get in touch with me then we will be happy to assist in any way we can.
I strongly urge you to cast your mind back to 1998, think about where you were, who you were with and who you maybe knew. Maybe someone who suddenly changed their behaviour, or that you believe may have been involved in the drugs underworld in the areas of Peckham, Stockwell and Brixton.
Were you maybe an addict back then but you have now worked hard and cleaned your life up and got straight, did you know a dealer or one of those who may have abused Carmel Fenech? Any small piece of information can really make such a difference to a cold case investigation.
Please contact the police on 101, the national charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact Missing People on 116 500 or even write to them via email firstname.lastname@example.org
I will leave this story there and hope that someone may come forward and help Deidre Fenech and her family find peace and closure in this sad case.
I will be back with another case for you very soon. If you’d like to talk to me about this case or any aspect of my work then please do get in touch, details of how to contact me are below.
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