Ten years of pain: Rachel Moran's parents tell of heartache on anniversary of one of Hull's most notorious murders
IT HAS been a decade of pain for the parents of Rachel Moran.
Ten years ago, their 21-year-old daughter was stabbed to death by stranger Michael Little in what became one of the region's most notorious murders.
Rachel had celebrated New Year 2003 in a pub with her brother and friends.
She had stopped off at her parents' house in Hall Road, north Hull, before setting off on the 20-minute walk back to her flat in Saxcourt, Orchard Park, in the early hours of the morning.
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But on the way she was abducted by Michael Little, who lived only a short distance away but had never met her.
Little forced Rachel back to his flat in Nashcourt.
There, he attacked her from behind, stabbing her more than 20 times in the head, neck and back with a kitchen knife.
He also had sex with her. Police believe this happened after she was dead.
It was four weeks before Rachel's body was found and Little's trial for her murder was one of the most dramatic in the history of Hull Crown Court.
"In some ways it seems like yesterday and in others it seems like forever," says her mother, Wanda.
"When I get irrational I think 'was it really her?' knowing it was.
"But I can remember every minute of it. I remember from when she first left the house feeling something bad had happened.
"I know there was no reason for her not to get in touch.
"Even from that moment, I knew she was not coming back."
Little, who was 23 at the time, robbed Rachel of at least 60 years of life, says her father.
Ray is also bitter that the killer, who was eventually ordered to spend at least 25 years of a life sentence in prison before he is eligible for parole, may have a better life now than he did before.
"As far as I'm concerned he has robbed Rachel of 60 years of life – of having children, of having grandchildren," says Ray.
"He's got a better life than he would have had otherwise. He will have things he could never have hoped to have achieved outside."
Hull Crown Court heard Little was an overweight, unemployed loner who spent his days smoking cannabis in his filthy flat.
Ray is angry he will now have access to a gym and training courses in prison.
Wanda tries not to think about him.
"To be honest I have put him to the back of my mind because the idea of him talking to her, of touching her ..." She cannot bring herself to finish the sentence.
During his trial, Little claimed Rachel had agreed to go back to his flat to have sex with him, where his jealous friend killed her.
It was an outrageous defence that caused the family tremendous heartache.
They knew Rachel, who was in a relationship at the time, would never have been interested in Little but were forced to sit and listen to his lies.
Even now, not everyone appreciates the truth.
"I know everything he said was a pack of lies and that was proved," says Wanda.
"But even now people ask me, 'Was she going out with him?'
"People still say, 'What about the other one?'
"That's what hurts me. He was such a revolting nothing. To think she would have anything to do with him is terrible.
"She was a decent girl who would have helped anyone."
Rachel would have been 32 this month.
Her parents are convinced she would have had children and been a wonderful mum.
They also know she would still have been living close by.
"I think she would definitely have had children," says Wanda.
"She was good with children and good at cooking.
"When she was younger she said she wanted to be a vet.
"Later, she took a job at a crèche and she loved looking after the babies."
Ray, 69, says: "I think she would still have been around here every day."
Rachel was the baby of the family, with older siblings John, Vanda and Kerry.
Ray had worked away when the others were younger and Rachel was the only one who had both parents around when she was growing up.
"In a way she was really naive. She was allowed to remain a child," says Wanda.
"She was allowed to remain dependent on us, even though she was 21. She was the baby.
"She was the only one who had two parents at home because Ray had been offshore.
"She was the only one who had mum and dad at home all the time.
"Because she had me and her dad both around she knew what a real family was like.
"She allowed us to indulge her.
"She had a key and she let herself in. She would say, 'Where are we going today mum?'
Ray says: "She would never ask me for money. I would have to ask her if she needed some.
"She would never say, 'Can I have so-much for a packet of cigs?' but she would come here and smoke mine."
"She was happy," says Wanda.
"She would let things wash over her. She never had to worry about not having any spare money."
Has time helped ease the pain of their loss?
"Not at all," says Ray, emphatically.
"It's changed things but it's certainly not like that for me."
Wanda, 68, says: "It dulls it. We don't sit here sulking. We have to put a face on for people.
"They think we have got over it but you never get over it."