Monday 22 October 2018

'I could never harm my wife' - missing Tina Satchwell's husband 'shocked' at major Garda search

  • Husband of Tina Satchwell (45) 'shocked' at the major Garda search operation
  • Richard Satchwell stressed he had never been in the Mitchel's Wood area in his life
  • Gardaí focusing on 40-acre woodland area in Castlemartyr, Co Cork
  • Appeal for information from anyone who may have noticed anything suspicious
  • Public urged to stay away from search site
  • First major operation undertaken outside the greater Youghal area where Tina Satchwell was last seen
  • Gardaí set up major coordination centre at the search site
  • Search dogs from UK enlisted to assist in the search for missing Tina
Tina Satchwell was last seen almost a year ago
Teams set up area to begin search connected to investigation of missing woman Tina Satchwell
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

The husband of missing woman Tina Satchwell (45) said he is "shocked" at the major Garda search operation in Cork woodland for his wife but said he was still hoping and praying she would be located safe.

Richard Satchwell was personally briefed by Midleton Gardaí on their plans for a major search for Tina in Mitchel's Wood outside Castlemartyr in east Cork.

The search is being led by Supt Colm Noonan and involves 60 personnel including Defence Forces engineering units and special dog search teams.

A 40 acre section of Mitchel's Wood is being searched in an operation expected to last for three weeks.

Teams set up area to begin search connected to investigation of missing woman Tina Satchwell
Teams set up area to begin search connected to investigation of missing woman Tina Satchwell

The forest was sealed off today and its entrance has been closed with steel security fencing.

Garda search teams have been provided with mobile generators to mobile portable lights.

The site has also been provided with a special garda communications unit, portacabins and portable toilets.

Mr Satchwell said the news of the search left him "shocked and numbed" and with "butterflies" in his stomach.

Tina Satchwell has been missing from her home in Youghal since March.
Tina Satchwell has been missing from her home in Youghal since March.

"I feel sick - I didn't sleep a wink last night".

Mr Satchwell said he "finds it difficult to put into words" how he feels given the potentially ominous turn in the Garda investigation.

The English-born truck driver also said he was "very upset" by false rumours and speculation on social media over the weekend that his wife's body had been found.

Some social media sites had tributes posted to Tina with comments like "RIP".

"I am extremely disappointed and upset," he told TV3.

"(But) I am still hoping Tina will be found safe and well."

"If you don't have hope, you don't have anything," he said.

Mr Satchwell also stressed that he had no involvement in his wife's disappearance.

He said: "I could never harm my wife, never, everybody who knows us knows that.

"My wife is out there somewhere, and I do believe she’s going to turn up and we will be able to be put to bed.”

Read More: Search begins for missing Tina Satchwell after 'credible information about movement of specific people'

Mr Satchwell also stressed that he had never been in the Mitchel's Wood area of Castlemartyr in his life.

The truck driver appealed for his privacy to be respected, warning that he was dealing with callers to his home from the early hours of the morning.

Mr Satchwell reported his wife missing four days after he last saw her on March 20 2017.

He left their home on an errand that day and his wife was not there when he returned.

Mr Satchwell said Tina was depressed at the time and he initially thought she had gone to her family home in Fermoy to spend time with her relatives.

He has repeatedly insisted that his wife would not attempt to harm herself though he acknowledged she was dealing with personal problems.

It was also claimed that €26,000 the couple had earned from the sale of a property had gone missing from their home in Youghal at the time of Tina's disappearance.

Mr Satchwell insisted he had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance - and said he believes she left Youghal to deal with personal issues, possible with the assistance of someone else.

"My wife is going to turn back up or she is going to get in touch with the Gardaí. One way or another this will all come out and, in time, it will (be shown) that I have done nothing," he said.

"I have been with my wife for 28 years - (I have tried to provide) a good quiet, loving marriage and nothing else."

"I have never once in nearly 30 years of being together laid a finger on her - the most I have ever done to her is have a tight cuddle, loving the bones off her."

He has repeatedly appealed to her to return home and insisted he will welcome her with "open arms."

"She is my daylight - she has been my life since meeting her, even before I spoke to her."

"To be honest with you, my life altered (since she vanished)."

Gardai have appealed to anyone who may have witnessed activity in an east Cork woodland to assist their inquiry into the disappearance of Tina Satchwell (45).

"We are appealing to any member of the public who may have any information concerning Tina to contact us in strictest confidence," Supt Colm Noonan said.

"Particularly, I wish to urge anyone who has information relating to activity in our around the woods at Mitchel's Woods, Bridgetown, Castlemartyr, Cork at the time of Tina's disappearance in. Arch 2017 to contact the incident room at Midleton Garda Station."

Read more: Forest searches for missing Tina Satchwell 'were rescheduled because of heavy snowfall'

Supt Noonan refused to comment on what specific information the Gardai had obtained or why Mitchel's Wood was being targeted.

However, it is understood the information was received in recent weeks and involved the movement of specific individuals in the vicinity of the forestry.

Supt Noonan said Tina's family were being briefed on the operation.

"We are in regular contact with the Satchwell family and they have been informed of this search operation today."

"You will appreciate that this is a very stressful time for them and I would urge that they be afforded privacy at this time."

Searches of up to three weeks are planned for.

Search teams began a painstaking trawl of the woodland, located just outside the east Cork village, in advance of the first anniversary of Tina's disappearance.

The searches also represent the first major operation undertaken outside the greater Youghal area where Tina was last seen on March 20 2017.

A property was searched by Gardaí in the east Cork seaside town last year - and underwater searches were also conducted by divers in Youghal Bay.

However, no trace of Tina was ever found.

It is understood the searches were planned in the woodland for late February but had to be rescheduled because of the heavy snow falls from Storm Emma.

Tina did not have a passport and a painstaking trawl of CCTV footage from both Irish and UK ports and airports has yielded no clue as to her whereabouts or movements.

She was reported missing by her husband after he had initially suspected she had gone to stay with family members in the Fermoy area.

The couple were 26 years married last November.

The couple got engaged two years after meeting and married in 1991 on Tina's 20th birthday.

Mr Satchwell has insisted he had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance - and said he believes she left Youghal to deal with personal issues.

Tina was well-known for her love of fashion and glamorous clothing.

"She loves posing. She loves her fashion. She loves going around second-hand shops looking for the one individual item so that nobody can go down to Penney’s or Dunnes and have the same thing."

Gardaí have appealed for anyone who may have information on Tina to contact Midleton Garda Station on (021) 4621550 or the Garda confidential line (1800) 666111.

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