Waiting four days to report Tina Satchwell missing ‘was a mistake’

Richard Satchwell says wife had warned him to leave her alone if she ever went away

In an interview on the Ray D'Arcy Show Richard Satchwell, husband of missing Youghal woman Tina Satchwell has said he believes, in retrospect, that waiting four days to report her disappearance to gardaí was a mistake.Video: RTE

The husband of missing woman Tina Satchwell has said he believes, in retrospect, that waiting four days to report her disappearance to gardaí was a mistake.

Richard Satchwell said that for five years before she vanished his wife had been struggling with personal issues and had warned him to leave her alone if she ever went away.

A search is taking place in woodland near Castlemartyr, Co Cork, for the missing woman’s remains. She was last seen on March 20th, 2017, by Mr Satchwell at their home in Youghal before he went on a shopping trip to Dungarvan, Co Waterford. She was gone when he returned home later that day, and he reported her missing on March 24th.

Tina Satchwell was last seen on March 20th, 2017

During an interview on RTÉ's The Ray D'Arcy Show, Mr Satchwell was asked if it was a mistake to wait so long before contacting gardaí about her absence.


He replied: “Looking back, I do . . . from 2012, she got into a state where she would go ‘if I ever decide to leave you, and you come after me, I’ll ring the guards’.”

He said he knew this did not sound good but that “20 minutes later she would be back in my arms, cuddling . . . she knows what I feel for her. She knows I find it difficult to be without her.”

‘Gone after her’

Mr Satchwell said if his wife had needed some space, “I admit I’d be reluctant to give it to her. You know, I’d have gone after her.”

He said she might have wanted some space as there were a number of things going on in her family and it “got on top of her”.

He said he did not think his wife would have taken her own life. “Honestly, that is the one thing I don’t believe she would have done. I know people have given out and moaned at me saying this, but Tina just loves herself, and I don’t believe she is the type of person who would touch herself, hurt herself.”

Mr Satchwell said he believed his wife had undiagnosed depression. She had inisted that he never let her be put on anti-depressants, and he said he had vowed never to say why she felt that way.

“The hardest thing for me was really the last six or seven months [before she disappeared] when virtually I had her crying in my arms every night in bed . . . that was extremely tough.”

He said that on the day she disappeared Ms Satchwell, who was upset over the death of a parrot some months earlier, had asked him to visit a church and say a prayer. He said the bird’s death had hit her “like losing a child”.

Following her disappearance, some €26,000 in cash also went missing from a cash box in their house. Mr Satchwell said this money came from the sale of their former home in Fermoy and had not been deposited as he was claiming unemployment benefit and banking it would have affected this.

“I always thought she would have gone over to Fermoy, where she had family and friends, and had a couple of days and everything would be fine,” he said.

Asked if there had been any indication that Ms Satchwell might leave him, he said: “I didn’t see anything” but that “looking back, yes, there is stuff”.

He said his wife used to insist on having the TV licence in her name but then put it in his name in 2016.

“There were little bits like that you don’t look at at the time, but then when stuff happens you start, you question yourself ‘could I have done stuff differently?’”

New information about the movements of a person of interest in the investigation led to the latest search in the case. Sightings were reported to the Garda of the person at Mitchel’s Wood in Bridgetstown around the time of her disappearance.

The day before her disappearance, the couple had been at a car boot sale and passed through Castlemartyr, where the search is taking place, on their way home. Mr Satchwell said they had never been to the wood in question but would occasionally pass it on the way to the beach or Ballycotton Bay.

‘One of 1,000 people’

Asked if he believed anyone had helped Ms Satchwell to go away, he said: “Knowing Tina the way I do, and the way she was when we first met, she wouldn’t just trust anybody. It’d have to be someone she’d known for a long time. As for who it could be, we only live 40 minutes from Fermoy, she was born and reared there, so it could be one of 1,000 people.”

He said he did not think there was another man in her life and that at the car boot sale the day before she disappeared she had been telling people “she loved me and would never do anything to hurt me”.

“The bit about not wanting to hurt me is [to say] that I’m not with any other man . . . that’s what I pick it up as.”

Asked what he thought had most likely happened his wife, he said: “I always live in hope. I dare say anybody who has got a missing person within the family would say the same. If you haven’t got that hope, you’ve not got anything.”

Put to him that some might feel a husband is a suspect when his wife has disappeared, Mr Satchwell said people who knew them as a couple would not agree.

He said living with the suggestion of his involvement in the background was difficult.

“It’s very tough, and I took note of what was in the papers and for a start I wouldn’t go into Fermoy, where I’d spent the best part of 30 years, thinking that everybody thought that. But then I go to Fermoy, and I’ve got people walking up, people who know me, who know us as a couple, and they know different. They’re shaking me hand and, in circumstances, giving me cuddles.”

Media appearances

Mr Satchwell has been appearing more frequently in the media since the latest search began. He said he had turned down many media opportunities during the year and that it is hard to strike a balance.

“If I’m doing it, I’m wrong for doing it. If I don’t do it, then I don’t care.”

He said that after appearing on TV3 during the week he was asked if he would speak to a man who was eager to see him.

The man said he was 100 per cent certain he had met Ms Satchwell in Janurary. The man said she was walking a puppy and he spoke to her as it was cold and told her to wrap up.

Mr Satchwell said he spoke to gardaí after the meeting and they told him a member of the force would go to speak to the man in question.

Mr Satchwell said that if his wife were to return home “the first thing I’d do is throw my arms around her”.

He said he would notify the gardaí and her family and then “as fast I could I would get Tina away from the house, letting only the guards know where she was because there is no way I could let Tina go through what I have been through . . . with the media”.

If she came back “I wouldn’t be the villain anymore, Tina would be. And I wouldn’t want that to happen to anybody”.