We slept on it for a long time, six months, and researched it online – we felt we were still young enough to raise another child.‘We decided we could not adopt a girl, it would have felt too much like trying to replace Holly.
We would have chosen a boy, but even so, it seemed like too great a demand for any child to step into the shoes of such a fantastic daughter.
‘In the end we revisited the plans we’d made at the very start of our married life, which was to have two children and to have them early so we could be young parents.
Ten years later the hard-won happiness of the couple is proof that some promises are too absolute to be broken.
Later, during Huntley’s Old Bailey trial, at which the killer claimed Holly had died from toppling accidentally into the bath as he tended to her nosebleed, Oliver conducted secret experiments in the bathroom at home to prove it was impossible.
Says Nicola: ‘Despite us trying to be positive and resourceful, Oliver was extremely withdrawn in the years that followed Holly’s murder. All he knew was that his sister had gone and his parents couldn’t necessarily keep him safe.‘We always told our children that if they were scared or in trouble to run to family, friends, a policeman or a teacher.
And then an adult and two children died in a swimming accident on the beach next to them. At the age of 16 Oliver went to work in Kevin’s contract cleaning business and for two years father and son ‘went up ladders and chit-chatted about life until it felt OK again’.
That business was one started from scratch in 2005.