Tuesday 17 July 2018

One year on: The key events in the disappearance of Tina Satchwell

  • Tina Satchwell (45) was last seen at her home in Co Cork one year ago
  • Her husband Richard says he has no idea what happened to his wife of 26 years
  • Gardaí launched major forest and moorland search for Tina after they received 'reliable and credible information'
Richard Satchwell pictured holding a photo of his wife Tina in one of her two large walk-in wardrobes Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Richard Satchwell pictured holding a photo of his wife Tina in one of her two large walk-in wardrobes Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Richard Satchwell ,Tina’s Husband pictured in Youghal Harbour near their home. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Tina Satchwell from Youghal Co Cork
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Mystery continues to surround the disappearance of missing woman Tina Satchwell as today marks the one year anniversary since she vanished from her home.

As gardai try to piece together the clues, Independent.ie has gathered the key points from the case one year on:

Tina Satchwell from Youghal Co Cork
Tina Satchwell from Youghal Co Cork

March 2017

Tina Satchwell (45) goes missing from her home in Youghal, Co Cork on March 20. Tina, who is originally from Fermoy, left her home that Friday evening and has not been seen or heard from since.

She had no passport, her mobile phone was left in her home and her bank account has not been accessed.

Four days later, Tina's husband Richard Satchwell reports her missing to gardai and a media appeal is issued.

Gardai begin search for clues into the disappearance.

June 2017

Richard Satchwell appears on RTÉ's Crimecall three months after his wife's disappearance appealing to the public for information.

Describing the last time he saw his wife, Richard told the programme: “She came down­stairs. I gave her a cup of tea and a slice of toast.

Tina Satchwell with her husband Richard
Tina Satchwell with her husband Richard

“Then she asked if I’d go over to Dungarvan. I gave her a peck, and said I’d see her in a couple of hours.”

Richard said he returned to an empty house occupied only by his wife’s two dogs, Ruby and Heidi, which he said was strange as she normally took them everywhere with her.

He called the gardai four days later after receiving no information from his wife or her family.

“Tina, come home, there’s nobody mad at you. My arms are open. The pets are missing you,” he said on the programme.

July 2017

Richard Satchwell invites Independent.ie into the home he shared with Tina and gives a rare insight into their lives together.

16 weeks later, Tina has never been seen by a member of the public or captured on CCTV leaving her home.

Tina Satchwell
Tina Satchwell

Richard said that he was initially treated as a suspect by gardai but insists that he has "nothing to hide".

When asked if gardai considered him a suspect in his wife’s disappearance he told Independent.ie, that "I have been asked questions but I haven’t been cautioned".

“It got back to me through a member of my family that they were asking, what I thought as unfair questions, about do they think that I could harm my wife. I came back to the gardai here in Youghal and I made a complaint. I wouldn’t lift a finger to my wife.

“It was very upsetting. I felt that it was unfair. But then as your brain starts clearing a small bit, you understand they’ve got this routine that they go through.

“They searched the house when I was up the country. I didn’t know that they were going to search it but now they have a key to enter whenever they like.

Tina Satchwell
Tina Satchwell

“I’ve told the truth. I’ve nothing to hide.”

The couple were 26 years married last November.

Richard said that Tina "loved fashion" and that he bought her "everything she wanted".

Tina Satchwell from Youghal Co Cork
Tina Satchwell from Youghal Co Cork

"I’ve bought her over €40,000 worth of jewellery. It’s a woman’s dream. She had no reason to leave," he said.

Richard said that he’ll never forget the day that Tina went missing.

“She got up in the morning and did the usual thing. She asked me if I’d drop over to Dungarvan and get fish. When I returned two hours later she wasn’t there. I found her keys on the ground as I walked in. She’d normally be watching MTV or some other chat show but there was no sign of her.

“I thought she went out for a walk but when she didn’t come back, naturally I got a sickly feeling.

“We had conversations of late so I said ‘right she’s gone down to a member of family for a while’ so I gave her a couple days and I left to visit my doctor on the Friday. When I found out that nobody had seen her, it was like everything fell away.”

He said the “conversations” were about anything and everything as they were “best friends”.

“I went along with the kind of wishes I thought she would have wanted me to do. I know some people think I should have reported it straight away but I made a judgement call, right or wrong. Since then I’ve done a lot of work with the guards trying to trace her. It’s just totally odd. Nobody has said that they’ve seen her. Especially here living on the main road. As far as I understand she didn’t get a taxi or a bus or anything like that because nobody saw her. I’m confused.”

He added that originally he thought that Tina left to “get a break”.

“She’s been very upset in recent months. She’s had a few fights within her family over the past few years. I think it took its toll and that’s why I think she left. She needed to get her head around things.

Richard Satchwell ,Tina’s Husband pictured in Youghal Harbour near their home. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Richard Satchwell ,Tina’s Husband pictured in Youghal Harbour near their home. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

“I hope she’ll turn up suddenly the way she disappeared. It’s just completely odd.”

Richard said that his wife took some clothes and €26,000 that they had in the house for home improvements.

Meanwhile, a search of CCTV security camera footage from ports and airports has revealed no indication that Tina left the country.

August 2017

Gardai examine two suitcases that Richard Satchwell found outside a Tesco car park.

Richard said he spotted the suitcases near the recycling bin. Gardaí were contacted and the suitcases were removed for examination.

He said one of them bore a resemblance to one belonging to his wife but he could not be sure about the other.

In August, gardai also launched a massive sea and land search for Tina.

The Garda Water Unit conducted a search around Youghal port in connection with her disappearance.

Further searches were carried out in urban areas around the town by members of the Divisional Search Team and the Cork City Garda Dog Unit.

This was one of the biggest search operations conducted so far as part of the investigation but gardai confirmed that it resulted in no new leads.

Richard told Independent.ie that he will "always have hope" that Tina will be found alive.

November 2017

Richard says that he won't be celebrating Christmas without his wife Tina.

"If Tina is not here I am not celebrating (Christmas)", he told TV3.

"We sat down last Christmas Day, and a lot of photos appeared in the press of that day, she said to me that morning we are going to make it the best Christmas we have ever had. It was an absolutely brilliant day.

"This Christmas, if she is not here there won't be any Christmas for me."

January 2018

Richard says he believes Tina received "a helping hand" in her disappearance.

Gardaí have since followed up hundreds of leads and potential sightings across Ireland, the UK and beyond, but to no avail.

Speaking on Prime Time, Tina's husband Richard said he believes somebody knows where she is.

Appealing for his wife to make contact if she can, Richard told the programme it "dawned on him" recently that Tina may have planned to leave, but he does not believe she could have done so on her own.

"As far as I'm concerned, my wife is out there and she'll come back. I honestly truly believe that," Richard said.

He said his message to Tina is; "I just want you to get in touch, let people know she's alright, if she needs time on her own that's okay. I believe somebody or bodies out there know where she is.

"She didn't get up and leave without some kind of help from somebody.

"Someone had to give a helping hand somewhere, you can't just up and leave without help from anybody.

"I just want her back, what's gone on has gone one, you can't take it away, but I just want her back."

February 2018

Gardai confirm that no trace of Tina Satchwell has been found on CCTV footage at any UK port or airport.

Footage was checked in the remote possibility that she may have travelled overseas and managed to evade detection at Irish departure points.

Gardaí had already confirmed an exhaustive examination of security camera footage at Irish ports and airports had failed to yield any clue as to the movements of Tina, who vanished from her Cork home 10 months ago.

Detectives are now satisfied that she never left Ireland - a conviction underpinned by the fact she did not have a passport.

March 2018

Gardaí launch a major forest and moorland search for Tina after they received "reliable and credible information" regarding the movement of specific people in the area.

Gardaí sealed off Mitchell's Wood and began the search after a phone call led to a tip that a person matching the description of missing Tina was seen in the vicinity of the woods last year.

She was apparently accompanied by someone at the time.

The caller saw a blonde-haired woman near the woods - but did not see her subsequently leave the area.

The searches, in advance of the first anniversary of Tina's disappearance, represented the first major operation undertaken outside the greater Youghal area.

50318 Search 10 (2) (INT_ED6_S01) (Read-Only).jpg
Gardaí work their way through woods at the 40-acre site of the search for Tina Satchwell at Mitchell’s Wood, outside Castlemartyr, east Cork. Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Richard said he was still hoping and praying she would be located safe.

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

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

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

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.”

He added that Tina wouldn't go near strange woodland by herself or in the company of anybody else, saying: "She wouldn't even go near strange woods with me".

He said he "can't imagine" her going to Mitchell's Wood outside Castlemartyr in east Cork, where gardai are currently carrying out an extensive search.

"I don't believe Tina has ever been there. The only wood she ever trusted to go to is just outside Fermoy," he said.

"I just know, and I can vouch for this now, Tina would not go near those woods on her own or in the company of anybody. She wouldn't even go near strange woods with me."

In a spate of TV interviews, Richard revealed that he spent time in prison on 2003 for social welfare fraud.

He said that Tina didn't see him because prison wasn't an environment that he wanted her to be in. He said that the pair spoke every evening on the phone.

He said: “As regards being in jail? Want the truth? I think I would sooner be there than where I am now.”

"I have never denied to anybody - anybody that has asked if I was in prison."

After the search was concluded, gardai confirmed that they sent items of interest found in the search of woodlands to the State Laboratory for forensic testing.

The items are understood to include fragments of clothing.

However, a garda source said it is still unclear if the items are in any way connected to the missing person's case.

Earlier this month, gardai 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.

Today, on March 20 2018, Tina Satchwell is missing for one year as gardai try to piece together the puzzle of her disappearance.

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