Missing too long — a life of drugs & exploitation
Carmel Fenech aka Carmel Pendry was 16 years old when she completely vanished without explanation or trace. She had been to court to answer a shoplifting charge and was expected home by her family but failed to return.
Carmel grew up in North Peckham, a rough area of London, England.
Her father left home when she was just a small child less than 2 years old and she grew up with her mother as head of the household.
When Carmel was 14 years old met a 40-year-old Jamaican man who introduced her to crack cocaine. She believed this man was her boyfriend and that loved her. Sadly this was far from the truth, in fact, he exploited her along with several other vulnerable underage girls.
As a result of her involvement with class-A drugs, Carmel began to wander off from home spending nights and days in drug dens or with undesirable people. When she did return home to see her family and to wash the man would wait in his car mostly out of sight around the corner somewhere.
Carmel’s family begged her not to go with him but she really had become transfixed with him and just ignored her family, repeatedly leaving with him as if he were her boyfriend.
Malcolm was of course questioned by police at the time of Carmel’s disappearance but was not charged with anything, he denied any relationship at all
You can read about him in more recent years by clicking the link HERE this will demonstrate just what kind of nasty person he is.
Eventually, in desperation, Carmel’s mother Elaine made a difficult decision to move the entire family away from their relatives and friends in order to try to help Carmel get away from drugs and the gangs in which she had become embroiled. They made the move to Broadfield, Crawley, West Sussex just a year before Carmel disappeared.
Sadly the teenage addict still returned regularly to Peckham, Brixton, Luton, Watford, Croydon and Crawley.
She was mostly picked up from Crawley by 40-year-old Reynold Malcolm who may also use the name Leslie Malcolm and was known to the drug-using fraternity as “Mikey”. He drove her to Peckham and other places in order for her to shoplift, score drugs and basically live her old life.
There seems to be some discrepancy about the date that Carmel disappeared, the dates 1st May 1998 and 21st May 1998 but it seems pretty certain that the 16-year-old was last seen at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court on May 21st 1998.
Most media stories seem to indicate that she was in the company of a male when she left the court, but one of my colleagues says that in a recent conversation with Carmel’s mother, Elaine he was told that Carmel was alone and the male some reported seeing was a court officer releasing her from the court. This could be a very important point and one that I would like to have confirmation on, if anyone can clarify this please do let me know.
One point that has been made on forums is that it was a month after Carmel was last seen before she was reported missing. I do understand that Carmel’s mother had become used to her daughter going off for periods of time and she states this was the reason that she waited a while but having done what she did many times and trawled the streets looking for her daughter, Elaine eventually contacted the police and formerly reported Carmel missing.
Carmel had a lot of friends and was well-known in both Brixton and Peckham. Her friends were made up of a variety of drug users and non-users, but it seems the majority that she regularly associated with were addicts.
Carmel was mixed race, half Maltese and a very beautiful girl and is described as having a beautiful smile. She apparently spent a lot of time in the Turkish community on Meeting House Lane, especially the cafe.
I am not certain but I wouldn’t be surprised that Carmel was exploited sexually there as it is suggested, but not confirmed that Carmel may have been three months pregnant when she went missing.
North Peckham estates where Carmel spent her childhood
It has been suggested that Carmel may well have been murdered but I am not so sure, I feel there is a lot to indicate that she may well be alive too. I have a feeling that she may well have been taken out of the area and made to work in the world of drugs and/or prostitution and has become wrapped in a new and probably dangerous life.
There is so much to indicate that this young woman who was badly let down by the system designed to protect her could have run out on life under duress from others possibly involved in drug dealing. The team and I have done a lot of research into the dark world of drugs and dealing, as a result of which we learned a lot about the dangerous “county lines drug world” and I feel Carmel could have been led into that.
From some recent research, I have discovered that Carmel was known to frequent a flat in Loampit Lane, Lewisham and I would like to know more about this as it doesn’t seem that police have followed this up. In fact, the whole thing in respect of the police investigation is of concern. It seems that despite Carmel last being seen at Camberwell Green in southeast London it seems that a great deal of the investigation surrounding the disappearance has been investigated by Sussex Police.
I really do feel that the people that Carmel’s mum rightly believed were the people that the police needed to approach, there could well have been others who no one has ever spoken with that may hold a lot of answers in the case. I will say that if there does happen to be anyone reading this then please come forward and share anything that you have to tell.
Loyalties change, and time moves on, if you were scared or worried about telling the police something 25 years ago it doesn't mean you have to stay silent now. I know that Carmel’s mother has said that she feels her life has been ‘on hold’ ever since so, it is NOT too late, if you know something speak up and let's find out what happened to Carmel.
There have recently been some photos run through specialist age progression software which could indicate what Carmel may look like today, they are posted below.
Carmel would be approaching age 41 years old now
This may be something like Carmel’s appearance today as she comes to 41 years old
It is noteworthy here that Carmel had evident scars on her face, in particular the one on her forehead and although they may have faded they almost certainly will not have disappeared.
There have been quite recent reports of potential sightings of a homeless woman of a very similar appearance to Carmel in the above pictures, but the police do not seem to have followed up reports. The main sightings seem to be around London railway stations, particularly the smaller outskirts ones and some on the line between Brighton Sussex which runs through London and terminates in the town of Bedford, East Anglia. This is the Thameslink line I believe so do keep your eyes open.
I will leave this one there and hopefully be able to bring you updates as we investigate further. There are a small Facebook Page and group that have recently been set up if you’d like to speak to one of the people that run it, they are very keen to help to find out what happened to Carmel. Just click on the links above to visit them.
I will be back with another case very soon, this is one that I am very passionate about and keen to see solved, so you will be hearing more from me soon.
As my regular readers know I love to hear from you so do get in touch if you would like to discuss this case or any other.
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