Gardaí recover ID from body of man found off Cork coast
Investigators warn it may some time to confirm identities of dead man and woman
Gardaí say they are following definite lines of inquiry in their attempts to identify two bodies found off the west Cork coast and in Wexford. Photograph: Eric Luke Staff Photographer
Gardaí in Bantry in west Cork have begun liaising through Europol with colleagues in France and Spain to see if authorities there have a record of a named fisherman or seafarer being reported missing, after a body was recovered from the sea midway between Cork and Cornwall.
The largely skeletal remains of the lower half of what is believed to be a male torso were found last Saturday afternoon by the crew of a French-registered Spanish-owned trawler, Rio de Bouza, fishing out of Marin in Galicia, when it lifted its nets some 180 nautical miles off the Cork coast.
The trawler’s skipper notified the gardaí of its find when it docked in Castletownbere on Sunday. The remains were transferred to Cork University Hospital for a postmortem.
Gardaí recovered a plastic ID in a waterproof pouch attached to the torso, bearing the name and photo of a 38-year-old man. The ID had an expiry date of 2011. They are now checking through Europol to see if anyone bearing his name was reported missing from a trawler or freighter.
The process may take some time, but it if it yields results, and a missing person report for the man is found, gardaí will then seek a DNA sample from his relatives to see if it matches samples taken at postmortem.
Meanwhile, gardaí in Wexford are following a similar approach in trying to establish the identity of a female found in a ditch at Ballyandrew some 6km north west of Ferns on January 7th last.
Gardaí found a rucksack nearby with documentation belonging to an Italian woman in her 50s who had been known to lead a nomadic life, travelling around Ireland and sleeping rough. The focus of their investigation has been in seeking to establish if the remains are those of this woman.
A postmortem confirmed the woman had not been the victim of foul play but advanced decomposition has made identification difficult and gardaí are still trying to obtain dental records belonging to the woman named in the documentation to see if they match the remains found.
Gardaí are liaising with both UK and Italian police through Europol to try to obtain such records. If this proves unsuccessful it is expected they will contact the family of the woman named in the documentation to try to confirm identity through use of DNA samples.
Gardaí in Wexford under Chief Supt Patrick McMenamin are trying to establish when the Italian woman, who was in her mid 50s, was last seen alive. So far, the gardaí have records of her last being seen in Dublin and Wicklow in September 2017.