£20k reward offered for information about the disappearance of Lana Purcell
PUBLISHED: 15:50 14 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:21 14 September 2020
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The father and the daughter of Lana Purcell have launched a fresh appeal and a £20,000 reward for information about her disappearance.
Lana, then 26, vanished from Queen’s Crescent in January 2011. After her family raised the alarm, police treated the case as a missing person investigation - although the Met later asked its murder squad to look into the case. Lana was involved in drugs and was working as a sex worker to support herself, and it was thought this may have been linked to her disappearance. The case was later passed to Scotland Yard’s cold cases unit.
On Monday (September 14), dad John said he had become aware of fresh rumours earlier this year about her disappearance, but he said that one of the people linked to it was in prison at the time.
Sat alongside Lana’s daughter Megan, 15, a pupil at Acland Burghley, he admitted he was aware his daughter could be dead. However he said he still has faith.
“I want some closure and to be able to grieve,” he said. “We have to keep holding out hope that she’s still alive. Some days I feel she is dead, other days I don’t think so.
“It is going to be a bit hard to think that for nine years she hasn’t been home. There is a way in my mind that she is alive. I really think that she could still be alive.”
Officers will be handing out leaflets and knocking on doors in Camden and Kentish Town, as well as appealing on social media for any details that might lead to her being found.
The reward is part of renewed efforts from police and Lana’s family to find out what happened to her. Previous rewards have gone unclaimed, but top brass at Scotland Yard decided the case merited an offer of £20,000 for any significant information that leads to a conviction.
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The last confirmed sighting is believed to have been on or around Monday, January 17 2011 around Wellesley Road, NW5. Officers believe Lana may have been heading to the West End or Soho area.
Lana was reported missing after five days to Camden police who looked into her disappearance. Thr investigation followed up on sightings from people who claimed to have seen her in north London after she was reported missing, interviewed large numbers of people, made witness appeals and seized and viewed hours of CCTV footage.
Det Ins Mike Stubbins, from the Met’s specialist crime command unit, was newly assigned to the case in March. He confirmed officers will be re-approaching witnesses from nearly a decade ago but refused to say when the last formal interview about the case took place. He added that detectives were keeping an open mind about whether or not Lana was still alive.
Lana’s family have previously been critical of the lack of urgency, among other areas, in the original investigation. In a briefing at Scotland Yard, Det Ins Stubbins said: “We have been reviewing the whole of the operation. We know everything that was done and wasn’t done, and the areas that we think we can get information from.
“We have confidence and hope that this will lead to new information. We have the right people around the investigation.
“We feel that after this amount of time people’s circumstances will have changed. Someone could have felt ‘I can’t say anything because I live in the area’ and they may have since moved away. Allegiances can change as well. They can come forward now.”
He added that the Met believes there are no further leads available in a “black book” compiled by a private investigator into the case in 2013.
Responding to the speculation Lana’s family became aware of earlier this year, he said: “There have been a lot of rumours. A lot of that has been second hand or third hand rumours. We are keeping an open mind and we hope any information can lead us to her.”
John, 61, said: “Knowing she hasn’t come home for about nine years is tough. She was always the bad penny. She would always turn up in the end.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 020 8345 1570, or 101 quoting Operation Kagal.
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