In an interview with The Argus, a mother has issued a heartfelt plea to her daughter who went missing a quarter of a century ago.  

Deirdre Fenech, from Crawley, has been searching for answers about her daughter Carmel’s disappearance for 25 years and counting.

In all that time, there have been no breakthroughs in the agonising hunt and the nightmare of wondering what happened to Carmel has played on Deirdre’s mind every day.

“She was groomed. There is no denying that and I have had to come to terms with that over the years,” the 66-year-old mum of four told The Argus.

“We did everything we could as a family to prevent that, and it was partly my ignorance about the drug scene and how it could take over a life. But she was just a teenager and I had to put some of her behaviour down to that.”

The Argus: Carmel Fenech was groomed, her mother believesCarmel Fenech was groomed, her mother believes

Carmel lived in Broadfield, Crawley, with her mother and siblings when she was last seen on May 21, 1998, in the company of a man.

Deirdre and her family have “got through” the last 25 years, but it has been “tremendously difficult” for her and her family.

She said: “Carmel had two younger siblings who I think have suffered the most. After she went missing, I didn’t want to let them out of my sight. I wrapped them in cotton wool, really.”

Remarkably, despite 25 years of searching for answers, and several appeals by Missing People and Crimestoppers, Deirdre and her family are still no closer to finding out what happened to Carmel.

“It’s really strange to sit down and actually think about it. I am looking for my little girl, but Carmel would be 41 now.”

It is coming up to a difficult milestone for the family, as Carmel would have turned 42 on July 3.

The Argus: Missing People's reconstruction of Carmel aged 34Missing People's reconstruction of Carmel aged 34 (Image: Missing People)

Deirdre issued a heartfelt plea to her daughter, who police fear was murdered.

“Carmel. I love and miss you. We think about you every day. Please just come home. Or if you don’t want to, just contact somebody to let us know you are safe and well.”

The charity Missing People helps Carmel's family. 

A spokeswoman for the organisation said: "If you are missing or thinking of going missing, please use our helpline for confidential support. Text or call on 116 000."