Sunday 17 December 2017

Heartbroken family facing 'very long road ahead'

Fergus Black

"We just have to keep going. There's a long road ahead. Either way there's a very long road ahead."

The anguished words are those of a heartbroken father as he waited yesterday for the dreaded news that the skeletal remains found on a windswept mountainside might be those of his missing son Kenneth.

Just 24 hours earlier, Brian Fetherston had stood near the bleak spot on the Military Road in the Dublin Mountains where remains had been discovered.

There, he and Ken's mother met the mother of another missing Tallaght man, Paul Byrne, who disappeared just two months previously -- each of them sharing a mixture of hope and dread about the identity of the remains on a desolate mountainside.

Just a short time before the worst news was confirmed, Mr Fetherston told of the "very likeable type of guy" Ken was.

He revealed how just five weeks after his son's disappearance, his family believed that Ken was most likely dead and that he had been murdered.

Mr Fetherston said his family soon sensed Ken had come to some harm. He was never the type of person to go a day without speaking to some member of the family and had a three-year-old daughter he "idolised".

They reported him missing, only to be told by the gardai that an adult had to have disappeared for seven days before being deemed to be missing.

Four days after his disappearance, a couple of Ken's friends who had been searching for him found his Honda car in a lay-by in the N11 near Gorey and informed gardai. There was blood on the back bumper and in the boot and that blood was later found to be Ken's.


Five weeks after his disappearance, the mystery was re-enacted on RTE's 'Crimecall' programme, with CCTV footage showing Ken filling his car with petrol.

"At that stage (when the programme was shown), we knew Ken was most likely dead -- that he'd been murdered. When it came out on 'Crimecall' it confirmed our worst feelings -- that our son had now moved on," he said.

Mr Fetherston spoke of his son's love for cars and how he had set up his own business. While the family had their own suspicions of what had happened to Ken, he wasn't in trouble. He had come into money through an accident claim and decided he was going to set up his own car repair firm.

"He would loan out money as well because he had it. He was a very likeable type of guy. He saw no harm in anybody and if somebody said 'I'm stuck for a few bob', he'd say 'no problem, there you go'."

As he speculated on whether the remains were those of his son or of someone else, he said the grim scenario presented two situations.

"One situation, the nightmare continues. The other situation, we move into another nightmare. We just have to keep going. There's a long road ahead, either way there's a very long road ahead."

A little over two hours following that interview, gardai confirmed that the remains were those of Ken Fetherston and that a murder investigation had been started.

Irish Independent

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