Missing Jenny – man charged with murder

A FATHER who confessed to having an affair with missing Richmond shop assistant Jenny Nicholl was this week charged with her murder. David Hodgson was arrested at his home in Olav Road, Richmond at 8am on Wednesday, almost two years since Miss Nicholl was last seen in the town. The 47-year-old father-of-two appeared in the dock at Northallerton Magistrates Court during a brief hearing just three hours after his arrest.

Hodgson, who spoke only to confirm his personal details, was remanded in custody and will now appear at Teesside Crown Court next Thursday, charged with Miss Nicholl's murder on or around June 30, 2005.

Miss Nicholl's parents, Ann and Brian, were in court to watch the proceedings.

Miss Nicholl was 19 at the time of her disappearance, and police confirmed in November 2005 that the case was being treated as murder. However, her body has never been found.

Speaking on Wednesday, Det Supt Susan Cross, who is leading the investigation, said: "This is clearly a difficult and traumatic day for Jenny's family, particularly as her body has not been recovered.

"Locating Jenny does remain a priority for the investigation team in order that Brian and Ann can lay their daughter to rest in a dignified manner befitting any human being."

The lengthy police investigation was triggered when Miss Nicholl's parents reported their daughter missing on July 4, 2005, the day her white Rover 214i car was found at the Holly Hill Inn on the outskirts of Richmond.

Miss Nicholl, who worked in the Co-op supermarket in Richmond, had not been seen since she left the former family home in Bolton Avenue in the town on June 30 of that year.

Initial reports said she could be in Scotland or the Lake District.

Hodgson admitted in 2005 that he had an affair with Miss Nicholl which had come to an end 12 months earlier, but was adamant that he had nothing to do with her disappearance.

He was arrested in January last year along with his brother, Robert, at their homes in Richmond although both were later released.

While her body has not been found, detectives revealed in March last year that one of Miss Nicholl's favourite childhood toys and her CD player had been discovered hidden in woodland.

The teddy bear and radio cassette/CD player were found in a wooded area known as Sandbeck Plantation to the west of Richmond.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Miss Nicholl's body should call North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 24 7 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.