herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

CCTV footage in search for missing Tina was deleted

Missing Tina Satchwell
Missing Tina Satchwell

The garda hunt for missing woman Tina Satchwell has suffered a setback after it emerged a quantity of CCTV security footage from an area being searched has been deleted over time since the disappearance.

A team of 60 personnel is now searching a sprawling Co Cork forest for Tina (45), who vanished without trace from her Youghal home on March 20 last year.

On Monday, gardai launched one of the biggest single-site searches ever seen in the county - in Mitchel's Wood outside Castlemartyr, east Cork - following a phone tip-off.

Focused

Until now, the garda search has focused on Youghal where Tina and her husband Richard live, and Fermoy where she was originally from.

Mitchel's Wood is located 200 metres from Castlemartyr village and just off the Cork- Waterford road.

CCTV security camera footage from various premises in the east Cork village has been examined as part of that search.

Unfortunately, a quantity of CCTV footage was deleted because of the significant time lapse involved. Other footage is now being examined in a bid to determine the possible movements of vehicles of specific interest to investigating gardai.

There is no CCTV camera coverage of the entrance to Mitchel's Wood itself.

Gardai under Superintendent Colm Noonan also received permission to have a no-fly zone declared over the search area - amid concerns some people might try to use camera-equipped drones to hover over the site.

Gardai also have heavy excavating equipment and ground-mapping radar on standby.

The forest is cordoned off as a 60-strong specialist search team, supported by Defence Forces engineers and canine units, trawls through 40 acres of forestry for clues as to Tina's whereabouts.

Supt Noonan, of Midleton Garda Station, said searches will continue for the next three weeks. The current search followed a phone call to gardai from a member of the public after the broadcast last January of an RTE Prime Time special on Tina's disappearance.

Gardai determined the information was both "reliable and credible" and ordered a major search of Mitchel's Wood.

A team from Search Dogs UK is also assisting the garda operation. The searchers are supported by generators and industrial lighting.

"There have been 220 separate lines of inquiry conducted. This has included liaison with Interpol and we are now conducting a search at Mitchel's Wood," Supt Noonan said.

Tina's husband, English-born truck driver Richard, said he was "shocked" by the development.

"I was sick in the stomach with worry. I am still hoping Tina will be found safe and well," he said

Mr Satchwell confirmed he has stored all cards and presents bought for Tina for their 25th wedding anniversary, her birthday, Christmas and even Valentine's Day as he prays for her return.

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