A MARRIED man was yesterday charged with the murder of North Yorkshire teenager Jenny Nicholl. The arrest follows a police investigation stretching back to the summer of 2005 when the 19-year-old walked out of the family home and never came back. JOE WILLIS looks back at the case.


June 30: Jenny Nicholl leaves the family home in Richmond, North Yorkshire, telling her parents she will not be back that night. Jenny enjoys camping in the countryside surrounding the town with friends and often stays out overnight.

July 3: The police are called when Jenny fails to show up for work at the town's Co-op supermarket. On the same day, Jenny's white Rover 214i car is found abandoned in the car park at the Holy Hill Inn, on the edge of Richmond.

July 6: Police say they are increasingly concerned for Jenny's welfare. Her picture is issued to the press and searches take place of the countryside surrounding Richmond. House-to-house inquiries are also carried out.

July 7: A dedicated incident room is set up at Richmond police station. Twenty officers are now assigned to investigate the disappearance.

July 8/9: Police quiz drinkers in Richmond about Jenny's whereabouts. Jenny was well known in several of the town's pubs. She played pool for the Talbot Hotel. Her favourite drink is Diesel - a mixture of lager, cider and blackcurrant cordial.

July 10: Detective Inspector Pete Martin, the man leading the investigation, appeals direct to the teenager to call her parents and let them know she is safe and well. Police announce that the search has been widened to the Scottish Borders and the Lake District after text messages are received from Jenny's phone. Officers originally believe the teenager may have gone camping. But detectives later announce that the messages received by friends from the Carlisle area, and her father from the Jedburgh area, were probably sent by the killer.

July 11: Jenny's friends tell The Northern Echo of their shock at the teenager's disappearance. They describe her as a "friendly, funny and popular" young woman.

July 13: Jenny's distraught parents, Brian and Ann Nicholl, issue a desperate plea for their daughter to come home. The couple say they have been waiting by the phone for two weeks, hoping to hear their daughter has been found safe and well.

July 15: CCTV images of Jenny at the counter of Richmond's NatWest bank three days before her disappearance are released. Further house-to-house enquiries are carried out and Jenny's friends and colleagues continue to be interviewed.

July 21: Jenny's father says he believes his daughter's friends may hold the key to her disappearance. He urges them to come forward and help the inquiry.

July 26: A 45-year-old man is arrested in Richmond in connection with an alleged attempt to pervert the course of justice. He is later released.

July 29: Police speak to music fans at the Darlington Festival event in the hope that they can shed light on the teenager's disappearance.

July 29/30: Mountain rescue volunteers with tracker dogs are brought in to search countryside around Hudswell, near Richmond, North Yorkshire, for a missing man. The hunt continues throughout the night and the man is eventually found suffering from hypothermia in a crudely constructed den. It later emerges that the man has been questioned in connection with the teenager's disappearance. Jenny was spotted camping in the area of the search with a middle-aged man and a young woman the weekend before she disappeared.

August 5: Police appeal for information from rock fans at Richmond Live. Jenny was a keen musician and played guitar in the Richmond School band, No Fouling. Her favourite song is, The Wind Cries Mary, by Jimi Hendrix.

August 19: Police speak for the first time of their fears that Jenny may not be found alive. The officer leading the investigation says he has no evidence the 19-year-old had suffered an accident or had come to any harm. But Det Insp Martin adds that the possibility had to be considered.

October 6: Jenny's mother makes a fresh appeal for information on her daughter's 20th birthday by unveiling an 8ft banner outside the store where Jenny worked. The appeal fails to bring in any new leads.

October 17: Police search a flat in Culloden View, Richmond. Items are taken away for examination by forensic experts.

November 3: Police reveal the missing person enquiry is now a murder hunt. On the same day, married man, David Hodgson, tells The Northern Echo that he has received death threats following Jenny's disappearance. He later tells a Sunday newspaper that he had an affair with Jenny. The former council landscape gardener says she told him she was leaving shortly before she vanished four months ago, adding that he lent her a large amount of money before she left.

November 10: Detectives say they are examining security camera tapes in the hope they will reveal the killer. The footage was taken from cameras in Carlisle and Jedburgh, in the Scottish Borders, where the mysterious text messages were sent from.

November 23: A cave is searched by specialist officers for Jenny's body. Like previous searches, it draws a blank.

November 24: Ann Nicholl makes an emotional appeal direct to her daughter's killer. She pleaded for the murderer to end the uncertainty and tell detectives what happened to the 19-year-old.

December 6: A wood on the edge of Richmond is roped off and rumours circulate that a body has been found. The next day, detectives confirm that nothing of significance was unearthed.

December 13: Ann Nicholl makes an appeal on BBC Crimewatch for information. Several of Jenny's possessions that are still missing are shown, including an aluminium box she kept her jewellery in and a silver CD/radio/cassette player. Det Insp Martin tells viewers he needs one final piece of the jigsaw to solve Jenny's disappearance.

December 14: Brian Nicholl appears in court charged with making indecent photographs of children. He is later sentenced to a three-year community rehabilitation order after pleading guilty to 16 specimen charges. Police say the incident is unrelated to the murder hunt.


January 17: Two middle-aged brothers, David and Robert Hodgson, are arrested on suspicion of murder. The pair are taken in for questioning after early-morning raids on their homes in Olav Road, Richmond. Three days later, David is released on police bail, while Robert is freed without charge.

March 7: Police reveal that a team of retired senior detectives is to be brought in to carry out a review of the investigation.

March 27: Detectives announce they have made a significant breakthrough after Jenny's teddy bear and CD player are found hidden in woods. The items were found by police search teams at Sandbeck Plantation, near Richmond - less than a mile from where Jenny's car was found.

June 30: About 100 of Jenny's friends and family mark the first anniversary of her disappearance with hymns and poems. The service takes place at St Joseph and St Francis Xavier Church, in Richmond. Jenny's aunt, Mary Quirke, says in a eulogy written by the teenager's parents: "Quite simply, Jenny is unique. She is a young woman, our daughter and we will carry her in our hearts and minds forever more. She is our Wee Jen and we will catch up with her soon, all being well."

October 6: On what would have been her daughter's 21st birthday, Ann Nicholl makes an emotional appeal to the killer to let her bury her body. In a hard-hitting poster put up around Richmond, Mrs Nicholl pleads with the killer to disclose the location of her daughter.

November 14: Jenny's grieving parents receive support from the family of Northern Ireland murder victim, Lisa Dorrian. The messages of sympathy and encouragement are left on the Jenny Nicholl website. Like Jenny's, the body of the 25-year-old Irish woman has never been found.

December 20: More than 1,000 candles are handed out to shops in Richmond. Jenny's parents urge well-wishers to light a candle for their daughter at Christmas.


April 12: Jenny' parents reassure well-wishers that the investigation into their daughter's disappearance still goes on. Brian and Ann Nicholl say on the Jenny Nicholl website: "We are sure however that you will all take some comfort in knowing that it has not gone away or been closed down . . . far from it."

May 16: David Hodgson, 47, of Olav Road, Richmond, is arrested and charged with Jenny's murder. He is taken to Northallerton Magistrates Court where he speaks only to confirm his name and address. He is remanded in custody until next Thursday.