GP offers £30,000 to trace rumours

 

A Tullamore doctor has offered a £30,000 reward to assist in the discovery and prosecution of those responsible for spreading rumours that he was involved in the disappearance of a local woman, Ms Fiona Pender.

A solicitor, Mr Donal Farrelly, said his client, Dr A.G. Mansoor, had lodged the money with him on Monday.

"He instructed me to take all steps necessary to seek out and prosecute the perpetrators of these allegations," Mr Farrelly said.

Stones were thrown at Dr Mansoor's house in the town on Saturday night, Mr Farrelly said, after a newspaper report that gardai had a significant new lead in the two-year investigation into Ms Pender's disappearance.

She was seven months pregnant when she disappeared from the flat she shared with her boyfriend, Mr John Thompson, in August 1996. He and members of his family were arrested and questioned about her disappearance, and released without charge.

Dr Mansoor, who has been a GP in Tullamore for more than 20 years, became the subject of rumour some weeks ago, Mr Farrelly said. "Everybody had the story, every pub and golf club. Someone has started this rumour, probably to hurt him in his business and profession."

Mr Farrelly said the first rumour was that Dr Mansoor's house "was searched and paedophile magazines were found. Then it was said that he had been arrested in connection with the investigation. Then that the rear of his garden had been dug up."

A senior Garda source involved in the investigation described the rumours as nonsense. "He's not in the frame, and never was in the frame for our investigation."

Dr Mansoor has worked with the Garda analysing samples taken from suspected drunk drivers, and may have been seen coming out of Tullamore Garda station in connection with this work.

"He is also believed to have been doing some work in his garden in the centre of the town.

"It could be someone added two and two and got seven, but this rumour went like wildfire," the Garda source said.

"It may be that the rumours were intended to draw attention away from a suspect or anybody who might have information. Or there may have been some hate motive."

It is believed that local journalists received calls repeating the rumours. Mr Farrelly said Dr Mansoor had received anonymous phone calls since the rumours started.

Mr Farrelly described his client as "a man with four young children, who has a high regard for the people of the town. He's been a GP for 21 years in Tullamore and his children are schoolgoing ages, between seven and 10. His mother-in-law lives with him as well."

He said Dr Mansoor had decided to settle in Tullamore and also ran a practice in Clara.

"He's happy with Tullamore, happy with the people, but whatever small group started this have to be stopped."

Gardai recently renewed the appeal for information on Ms Pender's disappearance to coincide with the second anniversary. The anonymous phone line service Crimestoppers offered a £5,000 reward last month for information on the case.