Man to be charged with murder of Mayo woman in December 2000


A man is due in court this morning charged with the murder of Mayo woman Sandra Collins, who went missing in December 2000.

The 48-year-old local man was arrested last night in the Ballina area of Co Mayo and spent the night at Ballina Garda station ahead of his appearance at Ballina District Court at 11am today.

It is the first time anybody has been charged in relation to the case.

Ms Collins, who was 28 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen in Killala, Co Mayo on December 4th, 2000.

The alarm was raised when she failed to return home after leaving her aunt’s house to go to the shops. About three hours later, at 11pm, she was served in a local fast food outlet where she bought two bags of chips. She was never seen again.

Gardaí believe Ms Collins met someone after going shopping and was still with that person when she went to buy the two portions of chips.

Four days later, her fleece jacket was found on the pier in Killala. Her family told gardaí at the time they did not believe she was suicidal.

When her jacket was discovered, some of the items she had bought in the shops were in the pockets.

An extensive search of the sea around Killala was carried out but nothing was found.

Regular appeals for information have been made by her family and gardaí over the past 12 years.

During that period, gardaí were contacted with information, some of which concerned a white van that was seen in Killala on the night Ms Collins disappeared.

Two other individuals – a man and a woman – have previously been arrested in connection with Ms Collins’s disappearance, on suspicion of withholding information.