herald

Friday 27 April 2018

'I felt sick' - husband's fury at 'come home Tina' sign held by two gardai

Richard Satchwell, the husband of missing Tina, was outraged at reports of a sign held up at a darts match
Richard Satchwell, the husband of missing Tina, was outraged at reports of a sign held up at a darts match
The circumstances of the incident caught on social media remain unclear

The husband of a woman missing for 10 months has expressed outrage at reports two off-duty gardai held up a handwritten sign at a darts match appealing for her to return home.

Garda authorities are now investigating the incident, which involved two male officers and came to light via social media last weekend.

Tina Satchwell (45) vanished from her home in Youghal, Co Cork, on March 20 last year.

Her husband, Richard, is adamant that she left home to deal with personal issues - and that she must have had assistance in her disappearance.

Mrs Satchwell did not have a passport and a painstaking trawl of CCTV footage from both Irish and UK ports and airports has yielded no clue as to her whereabouts or movements.

"Late on Saturday evening, I got a phone call from An Garda Siochana advising me that there was a photo of some kind gone viral on social media involving two gardai and a sign saying 'Come Home Tina'.

"They have apologised for it and advised me that the two people involved will be dealt with internally," he said.

Mr Satchwell said he "felt sick" about the incident, that he found it very upsetting and that it was insulting to both himself and his wife.

"I felt sick - that two professional people should find it funny to make a joke out of the predicament I find myself in," he told TV3.

"I think one of the things that is hard for people is to say sorry. I would like something to be said to them by An Garda Siochana but I would like a written apology from the two of them."

It is understood the internal investigation will determine whether the matter is referred to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

Image

Neither of the two gardai, based in Cork, is involved in the investigation into the disappearance of Mrs Satchwell.

The circumstances of the incident caught on social media remain unclear - and it is understood garda chiefs want to determine whether the image may have been digitally altered.

Photographs of the sign indicated that it was either written on or pasted on to a Unibet poster. Mrs Satchwell was reported missing by her husband after he had initially suspected she had gone to stay with family members in the Fermoy area.

Mr Satchwell also said he believes someone helped his wife with her disappearance - and claimed €26,000 is missing from the family home.

However, he is adamant he does not believe his wife of 26 years is dead.

He has again appealed to her to return home - and insisted he will welcome her with "open arms".

"She is my daylight - she has been my life since meeting her, even before I spoke to her," he said.

The couple got engaged two years after meeting and married in 1991 on Mrs Satchwell's 20th birthday.

Mr Satchwell has insisted he had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance. "My wife is going to turn up or she is going to get in touch with the gardai. One way or another, this will all come out and, in time, it will be shown that I have done nothing," he said.

"I have been with my wife for 28 years - I have tried to provide a good, quiet, loving marriage and nothing else.

"I have never once laid a finger on her."

Gardai stressed that they are now "very concerned" for Mrs Satchwell after repeated appeals for information yielded nothing.

Mrs Satchwell was last seen at her home on March 20 and while two suitcases were missing from her home, travel documents and other financial material were still in the house.

Fashion

Her mobile phone has not been used. The couple lived in Fermoy, Mrs Satchwell's home town, for 18 years before they relocated to Youghal in May 2016.

She was known for her love of fashion and glamorous clothing. "She loves posing, she loves her fashion. She loves going around second-hand shops looking for the one individual item so that nobody can go down to Penneys or Dunnes and have the same thing," said her husband.

Gardai have appealed for anyone who may have information on Mrs Satchwell to contact Midleton Garda Station on (021) 4621550 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.

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