Former detective's heartfelt appeal to those harbouring Fiona's killer

By david looby

Alan Bailey: moved by pleas of Sinnott family.
Alan Bailey: moved by pleas of Sinnott family.

A RETIRED cold-case detective has urged anyone harbouring missing Fiona Sinnott's killer to break their 19-year silence so her family can finally find peace.

Retired Detective Sergeant Alan Bailey, from New Ross, said there are people who know who killed Ms Sinnott, but 'who are happy to go to their graves harbouring the murderer'.

The 19-year-old mother-of-one went missing on February 8, 1998. She was last seen at Butler's pub in Broadway.

Mr Bailey said: 'Like so many other viewers I could not help but be moved by the pleas of the various members of the Sinnott family which were broadcast on the Crimeline Programme on RTE last Monday night.

'They begged that their sister's murderer would now, almost 19 years to the date that she was killed, finally return her body to them just so they could give her a Christian burial.'

Mr Bailey said he does not believe gardaí can solve the case without the public's help.

'As a member of the elite Garda Operation TRACE task force I personally worked on the investigation into Fiona's disappearance for some 13 years.

'I can put my hand on my heart and say that, barring some huge development in forensic science, the mystery of her disappearance will never be resolved as long as there are people out there who can see no wrong in letting her murderer walk free amongst them,' he said.

He said the Sinnott family aren't demanding answers or screaming for revenge.

'Their impassioned pleas were focused solely on reuniting their youngest sister with her mother, her siblings and her daughter.'

He said their sister's killer would be watching the television programme, following carefully their every utterance and comment.

'There were other persons out there also who would have followed the programme very closely,' he added. 'These "other persons" are those people who, through their continued silence, have allowed this nightmare to continue for the family.

'They are content to go to meet their maker safe in the knowledge that have harboured for so many years a monster to whom human life has no value. It is their silence that has allowed the murderer to enjoy freedom whilst her body lies rotting in an unmarked grave.'

Mr Bailey called on these people to heed the words of her family and give them back their daughter.

'God knows all it would take is a brief anonymous telephone call to a garda station or even to a newspaper like this one just revealing where she is buried. Misplaced loyalties might make them reluctant to name her killer but does it have to extend to continuing to hurt her family. They have suffered enough! If there is any modicum of decency left in you, you will pick up that phone.'

Mr Bailey has in-depth knowledge of the Fiona Sinnott case.

He worked as a bookman who set up incident rooms in Dublin Garda stations giving him first hand knowledge of some of the cases in the 1990s, before he climbed the ranks to serve as National Coordinator for the specialist Garda taskforce 'Operation Trace' alongside his role as detective sergeant in charge of the Garda Serious Crime Review Team.

A trained CSI examiner, with a diploma in Criminology, he believes that some of the cases may yet be solved as relationships of trust between the killers and the relatives or friends who have knowledge of the deaths breaks down over time.

Mr Bailey, who retired in 2011 after 40 years in An Garda Siochana, wrote about missing person cases including Ms Sinnott's in a book entitled Missing, Presumed which was released in 2014. The book gives detailed accounts of the cold case investigations into the disappearances of six women, namely Annie McCarrick, Jo Jo Dollard, Fiona Pender, Fiona Sinnott, Ciara Breen and Deirdre Jacob between 1993 and 1998.

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