A Garda investigation has identified a man captured on CCTV walking close behind Trevor Deely on Dublin’s Haddington Road on the night the 22-year-old disappeared, some 23 years ago.
Mark Deely, brother of the missing man, said that gardaí have since spoken to the identified man, and are now “totally happy” there is “nothing sinister” involved in the man’s recorded movements on the morning of December 8th, 2000.
“They’re happy now that the person following Trevor down Haddington Road, there is nothing sinister in that he was not following, he was not tracking,” Mr Deely said. “They’re totally happy that there is nothing sinister involved with that.”
On the night in question, some time after attending an office Christmas party, Trevor was captured on CCTV passing a Bank of Ireland ATM on Haddington Road at 4.14am. Approximately 30 seconds later, a man was recorded walking in the same direction.
With help from a UK-based company, gardaí were able to enhance the quality of the CCTV footage in question earlier this year, Mr Deely said.
The finding also removes the suspicion a man seen speaking to Trevor around 3.35am, at the rear gates of a Bank of Ireland premises at Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, was the same man seen moving behind Trevor on Haddington Road.
“There was a doubt over whether or not that person was the same person tracking Trevor down Haddington Road – it’s not,” Mr Deely said. “We’d love to know who that person is.”
Mr Deely said that although his family were happy to see progress in the investigation, the recent revelation was a “bittersweet moment”.
“It’s a bittersweet moment as well, because you think you’re going some place – as I said to one guard, I said, ‘God that puts us nearly straight back to square one straight away.’
Mr Deely said that his family have no theory as to what happened to Trevor. “We’re totally open minded. The truth is, as daft as it might sound, he’s as likely to walk in the door in the morning as he is be found dead. We’ve no information whatsoever.”
For the Deely family, the focus has always been on finding out what happened to Trevor, he said. “It’s all about keeping Trevor’s name out there.
“The disaster is that he gets left a bunch of case files sitting in a box in a Garda station,” he said.
Mr Deely was speaking to reporters at an event marking National Missing Persons Day at Croke Park, on Wednesday afternoon, where families members of missing persons gathered at the event in a display of hope.
At the event, Fianna Fáil TD James Browne referenced the publication of a database containing information on 44 cases of unidentified human remains earlier this year. The number of cases on the database – compiled from informations obtained from coroners – has since risen to 45.
“That was a positive first step, but it is only the first. We are committed to exploring how we can improve the database,” Mr Browne, Minister of State at the Department of Justice, said in a speech delivered at the event.
He encouraged those at the event to contract Forensic Science Ireland about providing DNA samples to the national DNA database: “The unidentified remains database, and many missing persons cases, depends heavily on the collection and processing of DNA samples.”
During his speech at the event, Michael Jacob, the father of the missing Deirdre Jacob, asked Mr Browne to meet with the families of missing persons, to discuss concerns around unidentified human remains, and the efforts to link remains to missing loved ones.
“The families of missing persons, particularly those who are missing for a long time, have great concern particularly about the unidentified remains – you can’t blame us for thinking, ‘Is the remains of our loved ones, one of those unidentified ones?’”, Mr Jacob said, who’s daughter disappeared near her home in Newbridge, Co Kildare, on July 28th, 1998.
A Department of Justice spokesperson said that Mr Browne would engage with the Jacob family in relation to the request made by Mr Jacob at Wednesday’s event.
“It is also important to note that the data published may not represent a complete dataset for a number of reasons – coroners can only provide details of unidentified remains that have been reported to them,” the spokesperson said.
“The Department has committed to facilitate communication between all stakeholders including An Garda Síochána and coroners in order to arrange the exhumation of remains for the purpose of extracting samples where none exist.”
To date, two exhumations have been carried out for the purposes of extracting DNA samples.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris also addressed the National Missing Persons Day event, describing the day as one “filled with complex and deep emotion”.
“It is a day to remember the missing, and to share just how much they are dearly missed and loved,” he said.
Several family members of missing persons addressed the event, including Rita Mooney (sister of Gerard Mooney, missing in Australia since 1996), Kathleen Bergin (sister of Jo Jo Dullard, missing since 1995), Leona Tighe (sister of Jean Tighe, missing in Portugal since 2020), and Rom Hyde (brother of Peter Hyde, missing since 1981).