47-year old charged over 12 years after disappearance
A Lacken man has been charged with the murder of Sandra Collins, who was last seen alive in Killala in December, 2000.
Martin Earley (48) of Bannagher, Carrowmore, Lacken, near Killala, appeared before a special sitting of Ballina District Court today (Friday), charged with the murder of Sandra Collins, who was 29 years old when she was last seen outside a chipper in Killala.
Detective Garda Eddie Naughton told the court that at 4.55pm yesterday (Thursday), Earley was arrested and at 7.40pm at Ballina Garda Station he was charged with the murder of Ms Collins on or around December 4, 2000 at an unknown location.
Superintendent Pat McHugh told Judge Patrick Durcan that the state’s application was to remand Earley in custody to appear before Harristown District Court on Friday next, January 4, at 10.30am for the preparation of the book of evidence for trial on indictment in the Central Criminal Court.
Defending solicitor Alan Gannon said the nature of the charge meant he was unable to apply for bail before the district court. He asked if the book of evidence would be prepared for that court, saying that the matter was of some ‘antiquity’.
Judge Durcan said that while the alleged incident may be, the actual charge before the court was a fresh one. Legal aid was granted to Earley. He had returned home from England, where he is working, for the Christmas.
Earley entered the court at 10.47am in handcuffs with his head covered. Sandra Collins’ brother Patrick, sisters Bridie and Mary and stepfather Joe were in court. The hearing lasted three minutes.
The family of Sandra Collins issued several appeals for information into her disappearance over 12 years ago. She was last seen at 11pm on Monday, December 4 in the Country Kitchen fast food restaurant in Killala.