'I could never harm my Tina', says husband, as gardai search woods
The husband of a woman who has been missing for almost a year has insisted that he had no involvement in her disappearance - as gardai launched a massive search operation in a wooded area.
Gardai sealed off a Cork forest yesterday after receiving information a person matching the description of missing Tina Satchwell was seen in the vicinity of the wood last year.
The caller informed gardai a person matching Tina's description was spotted near Mitchel's Wood outside Castlemartyr, east Cork, last March.
She was apparently accompanied by someone at the time.
The caller saw a blonde-haired woman near the wood - but did not see her subsequently leave the area.
Yesterday, Richard Satchwell - who has repeatedly appealed for his wife to come home - said he could never hurt the love of his life.
Tina (45), from Youghal, vanished without trace on March 20, 2017.
"I could never harm my wife, never, and everybody who knows us knows that," Mr Satchwell told TV3 news.
"My wife is there somewhere, and I do believe she's going to turn up and it'll all be able to be put to bed."
Mr Satchwell was personally briefed by Midleton gardai on their plans to search for Tina in Mitchel's Wood outside Castlemartyr.
Mr Satchwell said the news of the search left him "shocked and numbed" and with "butterflies" in his stomach.
"I feel sick - I didn't sleep a wink last night," he added.
Mr Satchwell said he "finds it difficult to put into words" how he feels, given the potentially ominous turn in the garda investigation.
The English-born truck driver also said he was "very upset" by false rumours and speculation on social media over the weekend that his wife's body had been found.
Some social media sites had tributes posted to Tina with comments such as "RIP".
"I am extremely disappointed and upset," he told TV3. "[But] I am still hoping Tina will be found safe and well."
Mr Satchwell also stressed that he had never been in the Mitchel's Wood area of Castlemartyr in his life.
Gardai received the call in the wake of an RTE Prime Time feature on the case in January.
Detectives refused to comment on the tip-off that sparked the huge search operation, which yesterday resulted in 100 metres of steel security fencing being erected across the entrance to Mitchel's Wood, just metres from the luxurious Castlemartyr Resort.
Superintendent Colm Noonan, of Midleton Garda Station, issued an appeal for information as the massive search began.
The operation is backed by 60 search personnel and involved an entire section of the woodland being cordoned off.
Massive generators were delivered to the scene, together with outdoor lighting systems.
A team from Search Dogs UK is also assisting the operation, as well as Defence Forces engineering units.
More than 40 acres will be examined, in an operation expected to last three weeks.
"Gardai at Midleton are investigating the disappearance of Tina Satchwell, from Youghal, who was last seen in March 2017," Supt Noonan said.
"An incident room is established in Midleton Garda Station and a team of detectives are working on Tina's disappearance.
"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.
"We are looking for evidence in relation to Tina's disappearance and we have, for the purposes of this search, restricted access to this area.
"I would appeal to members of the public to stay away from the area."