Thursday 19 October 2017

'Nannie's afraid in her own home' - Ann Boyle receiving hate mail 40 years after daughter Mary's disappearance

Ann Boyle, mother of missing Mary Boyle
Ann Boyle, mother of missing Mary Boyle
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

The mother of missing Mary Boyle (6), who has been missing for 40 years this week, has revealed that she is receiving hate mail and is afraid to be in her own home.

Mary vanished from her grandparents home in Cashelard, Co Donegal in March 1977.

At the house in Cashelard - RTE Prime Time reporter Barry Cummins with Mary's niece Mary Duffy and Mary's mother Ann Boyle at Cashelard from where Mary vanished nearby in March 1977.
At the house in Cashelard - RTE Prime Time reporter Barry Cummins with Mary's niece Mary Duffy and Mary's mother Ann Boyle at Cashelard from where Mary vanished nearby in March 1977.

No trace of Mary has ever been found.

On RTÉ's Prime Time, Mary's mum Ann Boyle described her horror after receiving anonymous hate mail.

"One was a Christmas card and the other was a letter, and the stuff that was in it was shocking. That threatened my life, and frightened the life out of me. One of them started off like it was from Mary. I mean, my God. That made me ill."

Her granddaughter Mary Duffy, named after her missing aunt, said the hateful mail was very distressing for her grandmother.

Wellies worn by Ann Boyle - Mary's sister - on 18 March 1977 - Mary would have worn exact same type of wellies on day she disappeared. Shown for first time on RTE Prime Time tonight.
Wellies worn by Ann Boyle - Mary's sister - on 18 March 1977 - Mary would have worn exact same type of wellies on day she disappeared. Shown for first time on RTE Prime Time tonight.

"It's horrible and Nannie's afraid to be in her own home and no one should be left like that, it's horrible," she told Prime Time.

Ann believes her daughter Mary did make it to a nearby road on the day she vanished.

Cardigan worn by Ann Boyle - Mary's sister - on 18 March 1977 - Mary would have worn exact same type on day she disappeared. Shown for first time on RTE Prime Time tonight
Cardigan worn by Ann Boyle - Mary's sister - on 18 March 1977 - Mary would have worn exact same type on day she disappeared. Shown for first time on RTE Prime Time tonight

Mary had followed her uncle Gerry Gallagher when he was delivering a ladder back to a neighbours house which was 400 yards away on a hillside.

The last reported sighting of Mary was by her uncle that afternoon as she turned back towards her grandparents home just over halfway on the journey to the neighbour's house.

Gerry continued on to the neighbour's home and returned the ladder.

"I've begged to know for 40 years what happened to Mary. I don't want an inquest that Mary is dead. I want to believe that Mary is still alive somewhere. I have to live that way," said Ann.

Marking the 40 year anniversary of her disappearance, gardai have released images of clothing similar to that worn by Mary Boyle on the day she went missing.

Mary was wearing a lilac coloured cardigan and black wellington boots.

Her twin sister Ann wore identical clothes that day, and those images were shown on RTE Prime Time.

Chief Superintendent Walter O'Sullivan of the Serious Crime Review Team said a full review of the case was currently being undertaken which sought to identify every person who was in Cashelard on the day that Mary disappeared.

"Although a rural area, there would have been a number of people in the area, living there, farming, visiting, driving through.

"When a child goes missing it goes right into the heart of a community, it struggles to understand why this has been visited on their community.

"The community has provided information confidentially, anonymously and through making statements. I believe there is further information to be obtained and I am appealing for people to come forward."

Gardai are asking anyone with information on Mary's disappearance to contact the Incident Room in Ballyshannon at 071 9858530 or the Garda Serious Crime Review Team on 01 6663444.

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