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Anonymous Collins letter writer asked to come forward with fresh information


Anton McNulty

THE author of an anonymous letter sent to the family of missing person Sandra Collins has again been asked to get in touch to help clarify aspects of the letter.
The letter was posted to Sandra’s brother Patrick last September, who forwarded it to gardaí to investigate. The author of the letter has never come forward but the family have asked that the person who wrote it to get in contact with them to provide further information if they have any.
Patrick Collins told The Mayo News that the letter gave the family ‘hope and encouragement’ that their appeals have not been falling on deaf ears.
“Obviously the person who wrote the letter felt something in them to sit down and put pen to paper. The letter renewed our hope that our appeals had not fallen on deaf ears. I understand there are people who are reluctant to come forward for whatever reason and we often wondered how people could ignore our pleas for information. People want to help but out of fear or misguided loyalties they have not yet come forward,” he said.
Twenty-eight-year-old Sandra Collins went missing from Killala on the night of December 4, 2000 and despite a lengthy search of the area, she has never been seen since. Her family believe that she was murdered but despite an extensive investigation, her body has never been recovered.
Martin Earley of Banagher, Carrowmore-Lacken, was charged with her murder but was acquitted by direction of the judge following an 18-day trial in 2014.
Last week marked the second anniversary of the death of Joe Collins, the father of Sandra, and Patrick said they hope the person who wrote the letter or anyone with information can come forward with fresh information.
“If someone does not want to come forward in person that is fine, they can ring anonymously or write another letter. I don’t want to know who they are. We don’t want to destroy anyone’s lives or get anyone into trouble. We just want to find Sandra. She should be buried in a grave with her mother, brother and father and not in some field,” he said.
‘Strictest confidence’
Catherine Costello, a co-founder of the voluntary ‘Searching for the Missing’ group, has been liaising with the Collins family for a number of years and she told The Mayo News that anyone with fresh information can contact her in strictest confidence. “Our group is independent of the gardaí and any information given to us is dealt in strictest confidence. We understand that people may not be able to go to the gardaí but if they get in touch with us we can facilitate them. If the person who wrote the letter would be good enough to get in touch we would like to clarify points in the letter,” said Catherine, who is a retired former policewoman in London and is now based in Limerick.
She added: “In Sandra’s case, we believe she is buried within a 10km radius of Killala. At the time there was a search and rescue mission concentrating at the sea and people may have presumed she drowned. People may have seen something which they might not believe was unusual at the time but may now be of interest.”
Anyone with any information on the disappearance of Sandra Collins is asked to contact Ballina Garda Station on 096 20560 or contact Catherine Costello on 087 7546753.

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