Wednesday 13 December 2017

Women were not victims of serial killer and many knew their abductor - former detective

Fiona's sister Diane Sinnott and mother Mary Sinnott. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Fiona's sister Diane Sinnott and mother Mary Sinnott. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Retired Detective Sergeant and author Alan Bailey
Eugene Sinnott (Fiona Sinnott’s uncle) at the dig site
Gardaí searching in an area of bogland near Dundalk town centre for Ciara Breen
Missing Ciara Breen, who was 17 when she disappeared
JoJo Dollard
Fiona Sinnott pictured with her daughter Emma Carroll.
Annie McCarrick
Joyce Fegan

Joyce Fegan

There was no serial killer involved in Ireland's missing women of the 1990s, and in many of the cases the women knew their abductor, according to a former cold-case detective.

Retired detective Alan Bailey's comments come as searches got under way this week for two of the missing girls, Ciara Breen (17) from Dundalk and Fiona Sinnott (19) from Wexford.

For 13 years, Mr Bailey acted as the national co-ordinator of Operation Trace, a garda unit set up to investigate the disappearance of six Irish women in the 1990s

"In Operation Trace, our investigation was to see if there was any commonality between the cases, whether there was a serial killer or not or any linkage between the women.

"However, we were satisfied based on our investigations that the persons responsible in a number of the cases, like Ciara Breen, Fiona Pender (25) and Fiona Sinnott, were known to the women," Mr Bailey told the Irish Independent.

Ciara Breen was last seen alive in February 1997, having left her home in Dundalk late at night. This week gardaí began a search of 16 acres of marshland in Dundalk as part of the investigation into her disappearance.

"For instance, when Ciara Breen left her mother's house that night, it was to keep a pre-arranged assignation with a male who was well-known to her," said Mr Bailey, who last year wrote the book 'Missing, Presumed'.

Also this week, the family of Fiona Sinnott revealed to the Irish Independent that they had started their own private dig. Fiona, a single mother of one, was last seen alive in public in Butler's Pub in Broadway in February 1998.

The retired detective believes this case is also solvable and that Fiona knew her killer. "We believe Fiona Sinnott was well-known to her abductor. This is one of the most solvable cases," said Mr Bailey.

"All along, the problem has been that people, by not supplying the information in their possession, have prevented the case from progressing," he added.


He also believes that Fiona Pender knew her abductor. The hair-dresser was seven months' pregnant when she went missing from her flat at Church Street in Tullamore in August 1996.

"For Fiona Pender, the person involved in her disappearance was well-known to her."

In relation to Deirdre Jacob (18), Annie McCarrick (26) and JoJo Dollard (21), Mr Bailey believes that three separate men are involved in their disappearances. Deirdre went missing in 1998, while walking home from Newbridge in broad daylight.

Annie, an American tourist, was last seen alive in 1993 in Johnnie Fox's Pub, and JoJo Dullard disappeared in 1995, while hitch-hiking home from Dublin to Kilkenny.

"In the case of Deirdre Jacob, there are allegations that a prisoner serving a lengthy sentence for sex-related crimes had made an admission to another prisoner during a drinking spree in the prison.

"For JoJo Dullard, there was a suggestion of a criminal who had served a sentence for a sex-related crime had met her when she was thumbing on the road.

"In Annie McCarrick's case, intelligence was received from a very reliable source indicating an IRA hitman who was on the run from the North and was holed up in the south.

"He met her in Johnnie Fox's Pub and made admissions while drunk that he later regretted. He is still living in America."

While he believes that the majority of these cases are solvable, he states that it will be difficult to secure any convictions without the bodies being found.

Irish Independent

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