Sunday 4 December 2016

Gardai end their dig for body of dad of four missing for 25 years

Published 01/10/2016 | 13:35

Missing man Charles Brooke Pickard (Inset: Charles pictured with his wife Penny)
Missing man Charles Brooke Pickard (Inset: Charles pictured with his wife Penny)

Gardai have ended their dig for the body of a father of four who was abducted near his home more than 25 years ago.

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Charles Brooke Pickard went missing from his home in Castlecove, on the ring of Kerry, when he was abducted by a gang of up to five armed, masked men in April 1991.

Upon the 25th anniversary of his disappearance, new information came to light after his family made a renewed appeal.

Following this, investigating gardai began a search two weeks ago of a 40sq/m area of bogland at Ballach Oisin, off the road which connects Waterville and Glencar.

The dig was assisted from a specialist search team from the Irish Defence Forces. However, the search ended yesterday evening without Mr Brooke Pickard's body being found.

Gardai told Independent.ie that their investigation into the search for the father-of-four will continue.

“The dig concluded after an extensive search in a specific area at Ballach Oisin. Although the search for Mr Pickard here was inconclusive, the investigation into his disappearance is still open.”

Charles Brooke Pickard was due to meet a friend on the morning he went missing in April 1991 when he was flagged down by a passer-by near “The dig concluded after an extensive search in a specific area at Ballach Oisin. Although the search for Mr Pickard here was inconclusive, the investigation into his disappearance is still open.”

Charles Brooke Pickard was due to meet a friend on the morning he went missing in April 1991 when he was flagged down by a passer-by near the family home in Castlecove on the Ring of Kerry.

The man was having car trouble and pleaded with Brooke for help.

Both men drove to O'Leary's shop nearby and bought £3 of petrol for the stricken orange Toyota Corolla.

After he stepped out of the van he was set upon by five masked men.

At least one of them brandished a firearm as they smuggled him into the back of his van. He was hit over the head with the butt of a gun and driven away from the scene with the orange car in pursuit.

Locals had noticed the orange car in the area the day before his kidnapping. It was at a time when the Ring of Kerry was not often travelled, and to have an unknown car around for a couple of days was strange.

Rumours spread nearby that the abduction was linked to drug money.

Coastal parts of Kerry were known as preferred gateways for criminal gangs to ship narcotics into Ireland but there is no proof or evidence that Brooke was involved with gangs or drug shipments. The family also deny this and said he did not owe money to people.

It is suspected that ex-paramilitaries with INLA links were responsible for his disappearance despite the fact Brooke was not political and had no involvement in such organisations.

The main suspects are believed to be from Northern Ireland.

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