Tuesday 28 March 2017

Missing woman's brother makes heartfelt plea for information nearly 15 years after her disappearance

Sandra Collins was 28 when she disappeared in 2000
Sandra Collins was 28 when she disappeared in 2000
Her brother Patrick Collins has made a heartfelt appeal for information

Sarah-Jane Murphy

The brother of Sandra Collins, a Mayo woman who went missing from her home in Killala, Co Mayo nearly 15 years ago, has issued a fresh plea for information on her disappearance.

Sandra's four siblings and her father have organised a memorial on Sunday August 16, in the church in Crossmalina, Co Mayo, where Sandra made her First Communion and Confirmation.

After mass, the group will gather at the pier in Crossmalina, where a commemorative plaque will be unveiled in Sandra's memory.

The 28-year-old was pregnant when she went missing from her Killala home in December 2000 and is presumed murdered.

In 2010, RTE's Crimecall staged a reconstruction of Sandra's last known movements in an effort to uncover what happened to her.

Several people responded to the appeal and gardai followed up on a number of new leads in the case.

In June, Martin Earley was acquitted of her murder at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Castlebar, after a judge ruled there was not enough evidence to convict him.

Speaking to Independent.ie Patrick (28), who was 14 when his sister disappeared, said that the culmination of the murder trial was very hard for Sandra's family to accept.

"It was like the rug was pulled from beneath us.

"We were left with more questions than ever before.

"We gathered at the family home after the trial was over and my father remarked that it was like a funeral but we had no body," he said.

Patrick describes Sandra as a good, kind, selfless person who always put others needs before her own.

"She took it upon herself to become my elderly aunt's carer and looked after her so well," he said.

He said Sandra's family have received magnificent support from the public in the years since she went missing.

"People who I don't know come up to me on the street and tell me that they are praying for Sandra.

"The community, the county of Mayo and people from all over the country have sent cards and and phone calls to let us know Sandra is in their thoughts," he said.

He urged people to come forward to give answers about what happened to their beloved Sandra.

‘I’m even appealing to people who have already come forward. I feel personally, and as a family since the trial finished, we believe there is still some information to come out,’ he said.

‘I’d be appealing to them to come forward and tell what they fully and truly know.

Patrick says that the family are not giving up in their quest for answers.

"We are prepared to fight to the bitter end to ascertain what happened to Sandra," he said.

He said his family had suffered two terrible injustices – one that Sandra was murdered and also that her body has not been recovered.

‘If you were to ask me which was the worst, that she was murdered or that she’s being kept from us and we’re in this limbo, I really don’t know which I could say,’ he said

"We have one desire, that's to bring Sandra home," he said.

Patrick is extending an open invitation to the public to attend the mass on Sunday August 16 at 12.30pm.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111

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