Fiona Sinnott: Renewed appeal for mother missing since 1998

19-year-old last seen at midnight after leaving Butler’s pub in Broadway, Co Wexford

Fiona Sinnott with her daughter Emma was 19 when she went missing in February 1998.

Fiona Sinnott with her daughter Emma was 19 when she went missing in February 1998.

 

Gardaí have issued a fresh appeal for witnesses as part of their investigation into the disappearance of Fiona Sinnott 19 years ago.

Sinnott, who was 19-years-old at the time, lived with her 11-month old baby daughter at a cottage in Ballyhitt, Broadway in Co Wexford when she went missing in 1998.

Her family had said that Sinnott had been looking forward to celebrating her daughter’s first birthday.

On the night of her disappearance on February 8th, Sinnott was socialising with friends and her former partner at Butler’s pub in Broadway.

She was last seen at midnight as she was leaving the pub.

Sinnott’s disappearance was initially treated as a missing-person case until after a review it was upgraded to a full murder inquiry in 2005.

Gardaí said a driver had seen a man and a woman on the road near Kisha Cross, Broadway, about midnight the night Sinnott disappeared.

Two men, aged in their late teens or early 20s, were also seen by a witness nearby.

Senior investigating officer Insp John Hunt said the main focus of the fresh appeal was to identify these four people.

“A lot can change in 19 years and people’s circumstances, they may have been able or willing to come forward,” he said.

“Those two younger men will be in their 40s now and may have a different view of life.”

Insp Hunt said investigators had continued to pursue the case through the years.

“Fiona’s body has never been found so that’s from the family’s point of view the most important. From the Garda point of view, it’s still a live murder investigation,” he said.

Insp Hunt said DNA profiling had become much more enhanced and new techniques could uncover evidence that may have been undetectable back in 1998.

“We had Forensic Science Ireland back at the house where Fiona Sinnott lived very recently. We’ve had a fresh look forensically at it,” he said.

“Something that wasn’t possible 19 years ago may be possible now.”

A total of 355 statements have been taken and 459 inquiries have been conducted by investigators into Sinnott’s disappearance.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Wexford Garda station on 053-9165200 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666111.

At a glance

  • February 1998: Sinnott last seen leaving Butler’s pub in Broadway.
  •  June 1998: Gardaí drain Lady’s Island Lake in Carne and searches continued in other local areas.
  • Two years after Sinnott’s disappearance in 2000, gardaí and her family issue renewed appeal for anyone with knowledge to come forward.
  • In September 2005: Five people arrested including the prime suspect. All five later released without charge.
  • January 2006: An excavation took place in a sugar beet field in Killinick, Co Wexford. Nothing was found.
  • January 2007: Skeletal human remains wash up on Kaat’s strand. The spot is about 17km from where Sinnott was last seen alive. Tests later showed it was not her.
  • September 2008: A plaque erected in Sinnott’s memory stolen from a graveyard wall.
  • August 2015: Sinnott’s family organise a fresh search and dig after receiving new information.
  •  February 2017: Gardaí use new forensic techniques to re-examine the cottage in which Sinnott lived. They also renew the appeal for witnesses.