Chief suspect in Deirdre Jacob murder inquiry is convicted criminal

As 1998 disappearance is upgraded to murder inquiry, details of suspect emerge

Deirdre Jacob’s parents, Bernadette and Michael, at home in Newbridge in 1999. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Deirdre Jacob’s parents, Bernadette and Michael, at home in Newbridge in 1999. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien


A man who served a lengthy prison sentence for a violent crime against a woman is the chief suspect for the murder of Deirdre Jacob.

The Co Kildare woman was 18 when she vanished while walking from Newbridge to her nearby home in 1998.

Gardaí said yesterday they had upgraded their missing persons inquiry to a murder investigation based on new information they had received.

The new information has satisfied the Garda beyond doubt that Ms Jacob was murdered rather than, for example, being killed accidentally and her remains disposed of.

Gardaí have also nominated a man who was in his 30s at the time as the chief suspect, though they have made no official comment on that.

Violent crime

He has served a lengthy sentence in the Republic for violent crime.

However, sources cautioned against any assumption that criminal charges were imminent. The same sources said there was a need for other people with information to come forward before substantive progress could be made.

Deirdre Jacob was 18-years-old when she disappeared on July 28th, 1998
Deirdre Jacob was 18 years old when she disappeared on July 28th, 1998

Speaking at Naas Garda station, Chief Supt Brian Sutton said people with information may feel freer now to speak up than they did 20 years ago, when Ms Jacob vanished. He said the Garda wanted to bring closure in the case for the Jacob family.


“She was a young woman starting off her life, who had just completed one year at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London,” Chief Supt Sutton said of the deceased.

“Deirdre had enjoyed her life in London and was looking forward to returning to college that September when her life was taken away on or after July 28th, 1998.”

Ms Jacob disappeared on Tuesday, July 28th, 1998. She was last seen at Roseberry, Newbridge, at about 3pm.

Ms Jacob had gone to get a bank draft to pay for student accommodation in London, where she was studying to become a primary-school teacher. At the time she was living at home for the summer, having finished her first year in college.

Her parents, Michael and Bernie, reported her missing and extensive searches took place, but no trace was ever found of her.