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Search for Catherine's body goes on as man charged with murder

At a special Mass in her native Kinnitty last night parish priest Fr Michael O'Meara spoke of the "terrible events in Wales" and the sense of "helpless".

Catherine (37) was reported missing on Monday after she failed to arrive for work at the Evans Veterinary Practice in Mold, north Wales.

The Herald understands that she had known her alleged killer for about four months.

He lived about an hour from Catherine in the town of Bethesda but was a regular visitor to New Brighton, Flintshire, where she lived.

Locals in his hometown described him as "a quiet man often seen around the village" who worked in a local clothing factory.

One man told the Herald: "We just can't believe it. We heard it on the news today. We just hope that they find that girl's body."







Devastated

Catherine's devastated sister, Emma, along with her husband Shay, has vowed to stay in Wales until police find her body.

Her mother Maureen was comforted by hundreds of well-wishers at last night's Mass in Offaly, but her husband John was too unwell to attend.

However the missing woman's cousin, Nancy Shanley, read a message on his behalf thanking people for their support. "Maureen and John, Emma and Shay would like to acknowledge the support and prayers sent to them by the wonderful community," she said.

Sharp, who has been in custody since Tuesday, was due before Mold magistrates this morning, the British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

"The CPS has been in close contact with North Wales Police as their investigation into Catherine Gowing's disappearance has developed," said district crown prosecutor Karen Dixon at North Wales Police HQ in Colwyn Bay last night.

"We can now confirm that, having carefully carried out a detailed review of the evidence gathered so far, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge Clive Sharp with the murder of Catherine Gowing and it is in the public interest to do so."

She added: "Accordingly we have authorised North Wales Police to charge the defendant. This is an extremely serious criminal charge and the police investigation continues."

The last positive sighting of Catherine was at Asda at 8.39pm on Friday, October 12.

CCTV footage shows her leaving the supermarket in Queensferry and it is believed she never returned home over the weekend. Detectives also revealed that personal items are missing from Catherine's house.

Disturbing news also emerged yesterday that Catherine had sent half a text message to a colleague after she was last seen alive.

The discovery of Catherine's Dublin-registered Renault Clio near a disused quarry around two miles from her home in New Brighton, Flintshire at about 7.15pm on Thursday evening was a major development in the investigation.

It was found by a member of the public who then contacted police. Police are now focusing their search for Catherine in the quarry in Pinfold Lane, Alltami, near Mold, and are using divers as well as other search equipment in their efforts to locate her.







Vanished

All hope of her being found alive has vanished, but Detective Superintendent John Hanson said police teams will do "all that is conceivably possible to find Catherine and return her to her family".

"I have already spoken about the extent and scope of the examinations and searches taking place and the resources involved in the search to find Catherine. Those searches will continue throughout the weekend," he said.

"I would like to renew my appeal for anyone who was in and around the area of the disused quarry in Pinfold Lane at any time last weekend to come forward with any information that may assist," he added.

Mr Hanson said search teams were examining two other locations in North Wales which have not been identified.

hnews@herald.ie


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