‘It would be devastating if somebody harmed her’

ANNE CORCORAN told people she was looking forward to attending a dance in her home village of Kilbrittain, Co Cork, tonight.

However, it seems unlikely the 60-year-old widow will do so following her sudden and mysterious disappearance, which has sparked a Garda investigation.

Anne was born and bred in the village near Bandon and married a local farmer late in life. They have no children. Her husband, Jerry, died more than 18 months ago leaving Anne living on her own with her two dogs at the remote two-storey farm-house at Maulskinlahane, 3km north of Kilbrittain.

Ms Corcoran’s brothers, Frank and Timmy live in Kilbrittain, while she also has some nieces who reside in the region, one of whom is looking after her dogs.

Locals described the widow as a private, but very friendly and polite person who was always immaculately dressed. She is also very religious and regularly attends Mass.

Villagers spoke about their shock at the news of her disappearance and the fact that gardaí were treating it as suspicious. Josie O’Mahony said she had recently spoken to the widow. “She was in great form. She was talking about coming to the dance which is hosted by the hall committee. This news came as a major shock. We are all praying for her,” she said.

Another local, Rita Kiernan, said she knew Ms Corcoran for many years and described her as “a very gentle person”.

Patsy Northridge, the village’s assistant postmaster, said locals were very anxious about Ms Corcoran’s welfare.

“It is an awful shock. It would be devastating if it was found out that somebody harmed her,” said Ms Northridge.

Bridget Hennessy, who runs a shop and petrol station in the village, said the widow would pop in now and again. “She was a very nice, gentle type of person. I couldn’t believe it when I heard. It is very upsetting.”

Gardaí cordoned off the farm yesterday and carried out searches through driving rain. Ms Corcoran had leased out the farm.

Six kilometres away, near Bandon, gardaí had also sealed off the area where her four-door Peugeot 206 was discovered abandoned. The car was parked adjacent to a small river at Oldcastle.

Both scenes were visited by Chief Superintendent Michael Finn, who is leading the investigation.

Gardaí say Ms Corcoran is a regular visitor to Bandon where she does most of her shopping. However, she was unlikely ever to travel the road the car was found on, which further adds to their suspicions. That road leads to Timoleague, rather than to Kilbrittain.

Inspector Brendan Fogarty said the last positive sighting of the widow was in a shop in Bandon on January 16.

A member of the public told gardaí they’d seen her in the shop and detectives confirmed this after viewing CCTV footage.

“I suspect that she was seen around after that time, but as yet we can’t confirm that,” said Insp Fogarty. “Nothing is missing from her house, which arouses further suspicion.”

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