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  1. ITV Report

TIMELINE: The Nicola Payne case since 1991

Two men were cleared today of murder charges in the Nicola Payne case.

She is thought to have walked across a patch of land known as the Black Pad. Credit: West Midlands Police

Two men were found not guilty today for the murder of 18-year old Nicola Payne in December 1991.

The mother of a seven month old boy, Nicola was walking to her parents house on Woodway Close having left her home in Winston Avenue around midday.

She is thought to have walked across a patch of land known as the Black Pad - but never arrived at her parents' house.

Here is what has happened since she disappeared more than two decades back in Coventry:

  • 14 December, 1991

Nicola Payne, an 18-year-old from Coventry, goes missing in the Wood End area of the city.

Her body has never been found since 1991. Credit: Family handout
  • 16 December 1991

West Midlands Police launch one of their biggest search operations, says Malcom Ross, former detective superintendent with West Midlands Police.

  • 20 December 1991

West Midlands Police release reconstruction of the day Nicola disappeared.

  • April 1996

Police excavate the garden of a property in Woodway Lane, acting on a tip-off, but after 12 hours of searching nothing is found.

  • December 1998

Her parents make a new appeal for information.

  • March 2007

Detectives re-examine the case with Nicola's parents making a fresh appeal for information.

Nicola's parents appealing for information on their missing daughter. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire
  • 11 - 12 June 2008

Police excavated a garden in Winston Avenue but nothing is found.

  • 19 June, 2012

Police start searching an area of parkland off Purcell Road in Coventry after detectives receive new information in relation to her disappearance. The search begins based on new information.

Police search operations in Coventry. Credit: Google Maps
  • 21 - 22 June, 2012

Two men are arrested. A 74-year-old man is released without charge and a 45-year-old man bailed to an address outside Coventry pending further enquiries, but charges are dropped in August of that year.

The search ends having failed to reveal any evidence or items relating to what happened to Nicola.

  • December 12, 2013

Almost 22 years to the day since Nicola went missing, police reveal they have uncovered new forensic evidence.

Police say they have sent a number of items off for analysis - and hope the results could provide answers.

  • December 17, 2013

Two men from Coventry are arrested on suspicion of the abduction and murder of Nicola.

A woman is also arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and is released later without charge. The arrests are made in the Stoke and Bell Green areas of the city.

  • 27 January, 2015

Two men are charged with the murder of missing Coventry mother Nicola Payne, who disappeared 23 years ago.

  • 23 April 2015

Nigel Barwell and Thomas O'Reilly plead not guilty to the murder of Nicola Payne in 1991.

The trial for the murder of Nicola Payne was held at the Birmingham Crown Court. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
  • 12 October 2015

Trial of Nigel Barwell and Thomas O'Reilly, accused of the murder of murder of Nicola Payne begins at Birmingham Crown Court.

  • 16 November 2015

Jury reach not guilty verdict. Both accused are cleared of murder charges.

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