Wednesday 12 December 2018

Garda hunt for missing Tina suffers setback as CCTV footage deleted

  • Garda hunt for missing woman Tina Satchwell ongoing in east Cork
  • Team of 60 personnel are now searching the sprawling Mitchel's Wood, outside Castlemartyr
  • Portion of CCTV footage from area being searched has been deleted since last March
  • Gardaí also have heavy excavating equipment and ground-mapping radar on standby
  • The woods have now been divided into various search zones
Vanished: Tina Satchwell
Vanished: Tina Satchwell

Ralph Riegel

The garda hunt for missing woman Tina Satchwell suffered a setback as it emerged a portion of CCTV footage from an area of east Cork being searched has been deleted since last March.

A team of 60 personnel are now searching the sprawling Mitchel's Wood, outside Castlemartyr, for Ms Satchwell (45) who vanished without trace from her Youghal home on March 20 last.

Until now, the Garda search has focused on Youghal, where Ms Satchwell lived with her husband Richard, and Fermoy, where she was originally from.

Gardaí launched one of the biggest single-site searches ever seen in Cork following a phone tip-off on Monday.

Mitchel's Wood is located 200 metres from Castlemartyr village, and just off the Cork-Waterford road.

CCTV security camera footage from various premises in the east Cork village has been examined as part of that search.

Unfortunately, a quantity of CCTV footage was deleted because of the significant time lapse involved.

Other footage is now being examined in a bid to determine the possible movements of vehicles of specific interest to investigating gardaí.

There is no CCTV camera coverage of the entrance to Mitchel's Wood itself.

Gardaí, under Superintendent Colm Noonan, also received permission to have a no-fly zone declared over the search area, amid concerns some people might try to use camera-equipped drones to hover over the site. Gardaí also have heavy excavating equipment and ground-mapping radar on standby.

"There have been 220 separate lines of inquiry conducted. This has included liaison with Interpol and we are now conducting a search at Mitchel's Wood," Supt Noonan explained.

The woods have now been divided into various search zones.

The forest is cordoned off as a 60-strong specialist search team, supported by Defence Forces engineers and canine units, trawls through 40 acres of forest.

Supt Noonan, of Midleton garda station, said searches will continue for the next three weeks.

The current search followed a phone call to gardaí from a member of the public after the broadcast last January of an RTÉ 'Prime Time' special on Ms Satchwell's disappearance.

Mr Satchwell confirmed he has stored all cards and presents bought for his wife for their 25th wedding anniversary, her birthday, Christmas, and even Valentine's Day, as he prays for her safe return.

Irish Independent

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