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Last Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007, 17:01 GMT
Death house father visits scene
Dinah McNicol (l) and Vicky Hamilton
The bodies of Dinah McNicol (l) and Vicky Hamilton were found last week
The father of Dinah McNicol has visited the place where his daughter's body was found 16 years after she disappeared.

Ian McNicol, from Essex, went to the house in Margate, Kent, where police found the remains of Dinah, 18.

"We can now put her to rest and grieve in our own time," he said, as searches continued at the house.

Another body, that of 15-year-old Vicky Hamilton, was also found last week. Peter Tobin, 61, has been charged in Scotland with the murder of Vicky.

Cases reopened

Mr McNicol, 68, was supported by a relative as he walked in the back garden of the property in Irvine Drive where his daughter's remains were found on Friday.

She never returned home to Tillingham, Essex, from a trip to Hampshire in 1991.

Ian McNicol
Ian McNicol visited the garden where his daughter's remains were found

Afterwards he told members of the media outside: "At least they have found her remains and I can speak for the whole family that we can now put her to rest and grieve in our own time, which is what we have wanted for 16 years.

"I'd like to thank all the officers who've done their work so well.

"I will cry, but not in front of you lot," he added.

Formal identification of what is believed to be Dinah McNicol's body is expected to take some days.

The Forensic Science Service said it was "working around the clock".

But based on the height and a distinctive item of jewellery described by her father, the police said they were sure the remains recovered were those of Miss McNicol.

'Heartfelt thanks'

On Monday, forensic archaeologists were carrying out detailed analysis of material gained from drilling through the concrete floors in the house, while officers examined rooms upstairs.

Police were using sniffer dogs inside the house in the search for any further human remains.

Digging also took place in the front garden "to ensure the property in its entirety is thoroughly examined", a police spokeswoman said.

Det Supt Tim Wills, leading the investigation for Essex Police, said in a statement: "We have now been in Irvine Drive for a week and there has obviously been a large influx of people into this residential area.

Annotated image of 50 Irvine Drive showing details of search.

"We are very grateful for the support and co-operation we have received from local residents, the local authority and other police forces.

"Having spoken with Dinah's father earlier today, he has asked me to pass on his heartfelt thanks to the family from this house for co-operating so willingly with the police to enable us to proceed with the investigation into his daughter's murder."

Essex Police spokeswoman Tabitha Wilson confirmed there had been no other significant discoveries at the property since Miss McNicol's body was found on Friday.

The body of Vicky Hamilton, from Redding near Falkirk, was recovered on 12 November.

She went missing in Bathgate, West Lothian, in 1991.

Peter Tobin, who used to live in the Margate property, was charged with her murder and appeared at Linlithgow Sheriff Court on Thursday.

The BBC cannot show pictures of Peter Tobin's face because of Scottish legal restrictions.

It is thought the discoveries in Margate have led to a number of other murder cases being re-examined.

One is believed to include the murder of Jessie Earl, who disappeared from Eastbourne in East Sussex in 1980 and was found dead nine years later.

Ian McNicol speaks after visiting the house

In pictures: Death house searches
17 Nov 07 |  In Pictures
'Hotspots' search at death house
17 Nov 07 |  England
Man charged with Vicky's murder
15 Nov 07 |  Scotland

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