Monday 19 March 2018

'We're absolutely devastated - I'm not coping well' - Joseph Whelan's pregnant wife

Sonya Whelan and her husband
Sonya Whelan and her husband

The devastated wife of a man who has been missing since Easter has spoken of her fears that a body found in a lake yesterday is that of her husband, Dubliner Joseph Whelan.

Sonya Whelan, who is pregnant with the couple's fourth child, is faced with the heartbreaking task of identifying her husband's body today after garda divers found remains near the banks of Lough Ramor near Virginia in Co Cavan yesterday.

It was revealed this evening that results of a post-mortem suggested that foul play was not involved in the death, however toxicology results are awaited.

Mr Whelan (37) has been missing from his home in Ashbourne, Co Meath since Good Friday. The body has not yet been formally identified.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent last night following the grim discovery, she said: "We're absolutely devastated. I'm not coping well."

She made the comments as she faced the heart-wrenching task last night of breaking the terrible news to their three children, two boys aged six and five, and a seven-year-old girl. It is understood he has two other children from a previous relationship.

Mr Whelan, who worked at the Merchant's Quay drug rehab programme in Dublin, was last seen on Good Friday when he left his home around 11pm to deliver repaired laptop computers to his friend Darren Monaghan in Virginia, Co Cavan.

His Volkswagen Passat was found at the Swiftbrook Glen housing estate in Virginia on Easter Monday, leading gardai and Mr Whelan's family to fear the worst.

CCTV footage showed Mr Whelan wandering in the estate shortly after 12:35am on Easter Saturday, but he vanished from sight afterwards.

Mr Monaghan said the last contact he had was after he received a phone call from Mr Whelan at around 12:15am on April 4 in which he said he had pulled into the estate, which is about 10 miles from Mr Monaghan's home. He had requested a lift because he had no tax on his car and was concerned after seeing a squad car.

Mr Monaghan said he sent his wife to collect him but when she got there he was nowhere in sight.

However, he said he then got a bizarre phone call from Mr Whelan half an hour later in which he said he was in a field "being chased by five police" before the line went dead.

The last known contact was when Mr Whelan's daughter received a missed call from his phone at 1.22am.

Gardai, meanwhile, said the identity of the body will be formally confirmed today following a post-mortem exam.

Sunday Independent

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