Tuesday 16 January 2018

Sister's plea as police step up search for Irishwoman

Emma Gowing sister of missing Irish woman Catherine Gowing at a press conference yesterday in North Wales
The last sighting of the Offaly woman on a supermarket’s CCTV

Cormac McQuinn Flintshire, Wales

THE distraught sister of missing vet Catherine Gowing wept as she made a desperate plea for help to find her.

Emma Gowing said the family was "deeply shocked" and "bereft" over the disappearance of the 37-year-old in north Wales, where she worked.

With Catherine now feared dead, Emma travelled to Flintshire to make a heartfelt appeal at special press conference.

"Please look, please search, please help us find our beautiful sister," she begged.

Detectives have secured more time to quiz a man arrested on suspicion of her murder, as friends of the missing Irishwoman admitted that they were losing hope of seeing her alive again.

Police released the last known images of Catherine, taken last Friday evening at a supermarket close to her workplace in Mold, as they attempt to piece together her final movements.

Detectives also revealed that personal items are missing from Catherine's house in nearby New Brighton, where she is thought to have gone afterwards.

They are trawling her mobile phone records after it emerged that she sent a text to a colleague after she was last seen alive.

At a specially convened press conference, her sister Emma broke down in tears and called for locals to do "all they can" to help the search for the missing woman, who is from Clonlee, near Birr in Co Offaly.

Emma made her appeal for information following the arrest of a 46-year-old man on Tuesday on suspicion of the Irish veterinary surgeon's murder.

The man appeared in a private hearing in Prestatyn yesterday morning, where magistrates granted the police a further 36 hours to question him.

Catherine knew this man, who is from Gwynedd in north east Wales, but was not in a relationship with him. He was a regular visitor to the New Brighton area.

Friends of the family last night said that Emma, who travelled to Wales with husband Shay Maguire, intends to stay there until her sister is found.

One said: "She doesn't want to leave while Catherine is still missing out there."

He said that the vet's parents "are starting to accept the fact that Catherine won't be found alive. Only now are they starting to deal with that. They were in shock when they first heard. It really only hit them today."

Suspect

Meanwhile, police scoured the countryside looking for Catherine and a purple Renault Clio, registration plate 00-D-99970.

They are still not sure if she ever made it home to the house which she was sharing with another Irish vet, Jane Doyle.

But she was due to spend the weekend alone at the house as Jane was away visiting her own family in Co Meath.

Asked if the man in custody would have had access to the house, Det Supt Hanson said that he "certainly frequents the New Brighton area but at this moment in time it's too early to make any connection between that individual and the house".

Personal items are missing from the premises, along with Catherine's car, which police are now desperate to trace.

There has been no sign of the car since last Friday, although a new sighting of Catherine put her at an ASDA store in Queensferry shortly after 8pm on Friday.

This was about an hour after she left work at Evans' vets in Mold a few miles away, but she has not been seen since.

Police are following at least two leads, a half-written text message that Ms Gowing sent to a work colleague and the personal items that appear to be missing from her house.

Det Supt Hanson added: "Searches have been conducted at a number of locations across North Wales and they relate to both leads that we are following relating to Catherine and the suspect that's in custody."

Irish Independent

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