Sunday 22 July 2018

No evidence to suggest missing Tina may have travelled to UK

British police have found no trace of missing Fermoy woman Tina Satchwell at any location where she previously resided in the UK, or on CCTV security camera footage from any port or airport.

The revelation came as Ms Satchwell's husband, Richard, again repeated the belief that his missing wife could have travelled to the UK and be living there.

Mr Satchwell, an English-born truck driver, said Ms Satchwell's best friend is now convinced his wife is living in the UK - and may have had help with her disappearance.

Ms Satchwell, who did not have a passport, previously lived in the UK and has acquaintances there. Mr Satchwell also said his wife had been trying to memorise UK social security data in the months before her disappearance.

His comments came as Gardaí entered the ninth day of a search of woodland outside Castlemartyr for Ms Satchwell, who vanished on March 20 last year.

More than 60 personnel, including Defence Forces engineering units, UK Search Dogs and Garda Sub-Aqua teams, are examining a stretch of Mitchel's Wood for any clue as to what happened to Ms Satchwell.

The search is expected to continue into next week.

Ms Satchwell vanished from her home in Youghal while her husband was on a brief errand to Dungarvan. Mr Satchwell has said he believed his wife might have had help in staging her disappearance - but he denied there was any question of her having an affair.

He met his future wife when she moved to live in England as a teenager. He said he fell in love at first sight - and he decided to move to Ireland to be with her, to the consternation of his own family.

"I was given an ultimatum when I met Tina. I chose Tina. When I was brought up in school, all we heard about Ireland was the IRA. My mother missed out on knowing an amazing woman," he said.

Mr Satchwell said he is hoping and praying his wife is found safe and well.

Garda sources have said they have absolutely nothing to indicate Ms Satchwell may have travelled to the UK.

CCTV footage from all Irish ports and airports was checked and no one matching Ms Satchwell's description was found. UK police have also checked for any trace of Ms Satchwell in areas previously known to her in England. All such reviews have yielded nothing.

"There is nothing so far to indicate what happened to Tina or where she went. There is certainly absolutely nothing to indicate she travelled to the UK," a Garda source said.

Mr Satchwell has revealed he spent time in prison in 2003 and admitted that he would rather re-live the experience than suffer life without his wife.

He has been conducting a blitz of broadcast interviews in the past week in the hope that it would generate further leads on Tina's case ahead of the one-year anniversary of her disappearance.

Speaking to RedFM, Mr Satchwell revealed he had served time in prison for social welfare fraud between December 2002 and January 2003. He had been working while claiming social welfare benefits.

"I was in prison over Christmas and New Year. I asked Tina not to visit," he said.

Mr Satchwell 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."

Mr Satchwell said he believed the media were determined to tarnish his good name.

"The media don't care about my feelings or Tina's feelings - they just want to make me look bad. They want to turn the public on me."

He said that since Tina disappeared he has been prescribed anti-depressants and prays every day that she returns home safe.

Meanwhile, Gardaí have sent items of interest found in the search of woodlands for Tina to the State Laboratory for forensic tests.

The items, which are understood to include fragments of clothing, were found during the search of Mitchell's Wood outside Castlemartyr.

However, a Garda source stressed it was unclear if the items were in any way connected to the case.