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Woman’s family tells of ‘absolute hell’ amid appeal over 2011 disappearance

Lana Purcell disappeared in January 2011.

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John and Megan Purcell, the father and daughter of Lana Purcell (Aaron Chown/PA)

John and Megan Purcell, the father and daughter of Lana Purcell (Aaron Chown/PA)

John and Megan Purcell, the father and daughter of Lana Purcell (Aaron Chown/PA)

The family of a woman who has been missing for nearly 10 years has spoken of enduring “absolute hell” as police offered a new £20,000 reward for information.

Lana Purcell was 27 when she disappeared from the area of Wellesley Road in Camden, north London, in January 2011.

Her daughter Megan – now 15 – was just six years old at the time.

Speaking to the PA news agency on Monday, Megan said: “I’m hoping for my mum to come home and find out where she’s been or why it’s been so long and we still haven’t heard nothing.

“It’s been hard because of all the stories we’ve been hearing, it just seems like it’s not going to come to an end.

“We’ve sort of given up hope that she’s going to come home.”

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Megan Purcell was six when her mother went missing (Aaron Chown/PA)

Megan Purcell was six when her mother went missing (Aaron Chown/PA)

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Megan Purcell was six when her mother went missing (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Metropolitan Police are now offering a £20,000 reward for information which leads to an arrest and conviction or to Ms Purcell’s whereabouts.

It is known that at the time of her disappearance, Ms Purcell was involved in drugs and was working as a sex worker.

The last confirmed sighting of her is believed to have been on or about January 17 2011 and officers believe she may have been heading to the West End/Soho area.

Her father John Purcell said: “It’s been awful, every day I wake up with a knot in my belly and I struggle to get out of bed sometimes.

“It’s terrible, absolute hell.”

He added: “I get quite angry sometimes about what’s happened to her.

“I hate myself for not being able to stop it, not being able to find her – it’s driving me mad.”

Ms Purcell was reported missing to the police five days after her disappearance.

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Lana Purcell (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Lana Purcell (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Lana Purcell (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The investigation has followed up on a number of sightings from people who claimed to have seen her in north London.

Detective Inspector Mike Stubbins, who is one of the lead investigators, said: “Her family have had to endure 10 years of hurt and torment by not knowing what happened to Lana.

“So we’re today asking the public for information about her whereabouts or what’s happened to her.

“And to support this, we are today authorised to give a £20,000 reward for information, we want this to help the public come forward to offer us information that we haven’t had before.”

He added: “I am very confident that there will be people who know full well what happened to Lana but have not yet spoken to us.

“But during my time in the police service, I have seen many examples of years passing and then eventually the crucial piece of information we need is given that allows us to solve a case.

“People change, allegiances change, or people who were once frightened of what they think might happen if they spoke to the police eventually do speak to us in the strictest of confidence. And I believe that can and will happen with Lana’s case.”

Anyone with information into the disappearance of Ms Purcell is asked to call the incident room on 020 8345 1570 or call 101 quoting Op Kagal.

Alternatively, people can tweet @MetCC or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

PA