Sunday 18 February 2018

Man and woman are arrested as missing children found 'safe'

Group recognised at holiday cottage in North

Elaine Keogh

FOUR children who went missing from their home last Thursday have been found in the North.

The four children -- and the man in their company -- were identified in Newcastle, Co Down, and were said to be "safe and well".

It is understood they were recognised by the owner of a holiday cottage after photographs of the children and Steven Appleton (30) were published in the national media.

The man contacted the PSNI after suspecting they were the children who were the subject of an international police search and two people have now been arrested.

There was substantial media coverage here and in the UK to try and locate the children -- Chloe (12), Jessica (10), Jon (5) and Megan Eaton (1) -- after their mum, Rebecca Eaton, came home from hospital last week following treatment for a minor complaint and found they were not there.

Ms Eaton and her children are from the UK but moved to Ireland before Christmas.

They moved into a large detached house in Tullykeel, Ardee, Co Louth, and the older children are believed to have been attending school nearby.

The gardai were contacted about the missing children and on Saturday they appealed for the public's help.

They issued photographs, as well as the registration plate of the car Mr Appleton was believed to be driving.


The search was widened across the Border and it was determined that £300 (€345) had been spent on clothes in Primark in Newry.

Gardai and the PSNI liaised closely on the investigation.

A number of gardai from Ardee travelled to Newcastle after a man said he had recognised the children from newspaper photographs.

Once it was established the children were, in fact, those reported missing, the PSNI moved in and two people were arrested. It is understood they were a man and a woman and the PSNI said last night they were helping with inquiries.

The children's mother, Rebecca, has been joined by her own mother, Angela Eaton, at the house in Ardee.

The Eaton family is originally from the Bognor Regis area of southern England and moved into the large detached house 'Tullykeel Lodge' in December 2010.

It is understood that Mr Appleton had been paying the monthly rent of €2,500 on the house and also rented a second property nearby.

In a statement yesterday, the garda press office thanked the UK police forces for their help in the investigation.

"We would also like to thank Interpol for their assistance," the statement read.

"We wish to extend our thanks to the media for their co-operation and assistance with the appeal ... we would like to thank the public for their assistance."

Irish Independent

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