Friday 23 March 2018

'She wouldn't go near woods', says husband as Tina search goes on

Richard Satchwell spoke out as the hunt for his missing wife Tina goes on
Richard Satchwell spoke out as the hunt for his missing wife Tina goes on
Tina Satchwell. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

The husband of missing woman Tina Satchwell has said she wouldn't go near remote woodland by herself or in the company of anybody else, adding: "She wouldn't even go near strange woods with me".

Richard Satchwell told how his wife is not a very trusting person. He said he "can't imagine" her going to Mitchell's Wood outside Castlemartyr in east Cork, where gardai are currently carrying out an extensive search.

Ms Satchwell (45) disappeared from her Youghal home last March 20. Despite a huge search operation and repeated garda public appeals for information, no trace of her has been found.

"I don't believe Tina has ever been there," Mr Satchwell told RTE's Prime Time.


"The only wood she ever trusted to go to is just outside Fermoy," he said. "I just know, and I can vouch for this now, Tina would not go near those woods on her own or in the company of anybody. She wouldn't even go near strange woods with me."

Mr Satchwell said he has been reflecting on the time period leading up to his wife's disappearance, explaining how she was suffering from depression.

"I am my own worst critic. I have said it to Tina's friends today, and I said it to Tina's family, should I have gone to the doctor and explained how I was feeling about how she was and stuff like that," he said.

"I have always gone by Tina's own wishes and she always made me promise not to let her get anti-depressants."

He also said his wife is the kind of person who would not go down without a fight.

"Say if somebody walked past Tina and insulted her... Tina would have her say," Mr Satchwell said.

He then explained how he was the total opposite, and that's what attracted her to him.

"When we first met I was a lot bigger than I am now. It was my quietness [that attracted her to me], the fact she felt safe," he said. "I'm not the type of person to just fly off the handle. My arms have only ever held Tina in a loving manner."

Mr Satchwell said people in his local area have been coming up offering him support in recent days.

"I respect those kind of people who walk up to you and shake your hand. It's a nice gesture," he said.

Gardai sealed off Mitchell's Wood and began a massive search operation this week after a phone call led to a tip that a person matching the description of missing Ms Satchwell was seen in the vicinity of the woods last year.

She was apparently accompanied by someone at the time.

The caller saw a blonde-haired woman near the woods - but did not see her subsequently leave the area. Gardai have heavy excavating equipment and ground-mapping radar on standby as the search for Ms Satchwell intensifies.

A 60-strong specialist search team supported by Defence Forces engineers and canine units are searching 40 acres of forest looking for clues to her whereabouts.

Supt Colm Noonan, of Midleton Garda Station, who is leading the operation, said searches will continue for the next three weeks.

The search operation is the biggest undertaken in Cork for nearly 20 years. A team from Search Dogs UK is assisting the operation, as are Defence Forces engineering units.

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

"We are looking for evidence in relation to Tina's disappearance, and I would appeal to members of the public to stay away from the area - there will be no public access for the duration of this search."

A specific 40-acre section has been identified in the 200-acre woodland as the initial focus of the search. This has been broken up into various zones, with ground examination beginning in earnest yesterday.

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