‘People who abducted him won’t get away with it in this life or the next’, says wife of man missing for over 25 years

Crohan and Penny Pickard pictured at their home outside Castlecove, Co Kerry. Picture: Don MacMonagle

The wife of a man missing for more than 25 years has directly appealed to people involved in his abduction to come forward with information, as ultimately they will “not get away with it — in this life or the next”.

Penny Pickard was speaking as a major search and excavation for the remains of her husband Charles Brooke Pickard continued in an area of forestry near the remote, high mountain pass of Ballaghisheen in south Kerry.

A Garda press conference in Killarney on Tuesday had heard the investigation was “very much live”.

Finding the remains would be significant, Supt Flor Murphy of Killarney said, but a “fresh investigation” into Mr Pickard’s abduction by five armed men in April 1991 at White Strand, Castlecove would continue.

A former forested site, approx 40sq m at Derrenageeha, Ballaghisheen, near where Mr Pickard’s van was found burnt out three weeks after he disappeared, was being cleared yesterday for the second day by a team of up to 20 gardaí and army. Plant equipment and metal detectors are on site.

The area, which gardaí described as difficult terrain, had been searched at the time, but not excavated.

The fresh activity at the site reportedly follows a new strand of information which cannot be ignored, gardaí said.

The dig for the remains of the missing man will take at least a week.

Ms Pickard said she last saw her husband on the Friday morning of April 26, 1991.

She said he had been going to the bog to cut turf. But he never returned home.

The couple had moved to south Kerry from Leeds, in the UK, for an alternative lifestyle and had four children.

She has continued to live in the south-west.

Asked if she wished to direct her appeal to anyone, Ms Pickard said if she were to appeal to anyone, she would appeal to “the people who did it”.

“Ultimately they are not going to get away with it in this life or the next. Their best option is to come clean,” she said.

Ms Pickard experienced a second family tragedy when their daughter Lisa was killed in a road traffic accident, some years after Mr Pickard’s abduction.

Yesterday, Crohan Pickard — the second youngest of the couple’s three surviving children — said he too would appeal to anyone who knew anything to come forward.

“There’s so many ways to give information anonymously,” said Crohan, who was seven-years-old when his father disappeared.

He also lives in south Kerry and is married with his own family.

In an appeal to the general public during an interview on Radio Kerry and RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he asked anyone with information to imagine what their family would be going through if a loved one was missing.

He said the family had no real theory why it happened and would now “like to know exactly why”.

Crohan said: “If they find a body that would give us an amazing sense of closure.”

It was important to have hope, Crohan said, but he emphasised that the family was not going to raise its expectations for fear of the trauma of being disappointed.

“We’re expecting nothing but hoping for the best… it’s important to have hope and not give up hope.”

The missing man had been observed 25 years ago being bundled into his navy Ford Transit Van by five armed and masked men at White Strand, Castlecove.

Gardaí, reportedly, have long believed Mr Pickard’s disappearance was linked to a dispute over drugs money and involved hired gunmen, possibly from Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, as the new search continues, a Garda liaison officer has been appointed to keep the family updated on the excavation.


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