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PAULA Clennell had been dreading Christmas as a "dark, lonely and depressing" time.

A heartbreaking last letter home sees her telling mum Isabella how she could not enjoy the celebrations without her three young daughters.

The girls were taken away by social services and adopted two years ago.

By then, Paula, 24, had been been a heroin addict for more than four years and had worked on the streets for two. She had also split with the girls' father Elton Norris.

Isabella, 47, said Paula was scared her life was in danger from her drug dealers and from street work.

But she said her daughter was determined to save cash to buy a house and wanted to have her children back.

Paula's dad Brian, 57, was struggling with his grief yesterday. He clutched his daughter's silver christening boot and said: "Whatever she's done, she doesn't deserve this. If she's dead then I'll be dead. I'll be history." The unemployed former Shell engineer added: "She was a wonderful daughter.

"I can't understand how she got to where she is. She was a loving, caring girl. She must just have fallen in with the wrong crowd. Maybe it was my fault. I was away working a lot of the time."

A friend of Paula's known only as Brian, 51, last night revealed how she always said she would die young.

He said: "She did say that she never expected to live long, not longer than 25. She was adamant about that as if it was a kind of premonition."

Extracts from Paula's letter dated November 26:

Hiya Mom

I'm so glad that I have got your address now, so I can write to you and keep in touch with you, I got rid of my phone but you can get me on this number (***** ******) any time, I want to meet up with you in town before Christmas so we will have to arrange that as I'm getting ****, ****** and the babe (her sister Alice's children) their Xmas prezzies so I will give them to you to give to them, but ask Alice if she will meet me in town one day and that will be a lot easyer (sic) for me so she can let me know what to get for them.. I know what I'm getting you but that's a surprise.

But really I'm not looking forward to Xmas at all and you know the reason for that, Xmas will never be the same for me again without the girls, for me instead of it being a happy day of joy and togetherness it's only a dark, lonely and depressing day....

All my love, huggs (sic) and kisses From your daughter Paula xxx


AGONY: Isabella with letter
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 14, 2006
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