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Cancer-stricken mother of missing man begs 'killers' to tell family where body is buried

Geraldine Roche
Geraldine Roche

THE cancer-stricken mother of a missing man, believed murdered, this week begged her son’s “killers” to tell her where his body is, sobbing: “I won’t be buried alone.”

Dean Roche (31), from Hebron Park, Kilkenny, vanished without a trace on the evening on Sunday, March 22, 2015, after travelling from his home to nearby Ballyfoyle to buy a car.

Gardaí believe that shortly after buying the car Dean crashed it into a ditch.

It is suspected that Dean, who battled addiction issues, subsequently burgled two houses in the area before vanishing without a trace.

And the only clue his family have to what happened is the fact a light-coloured car was seen in the area at 9.30pm, with one neighbour reporting they heard an occupant shout at someone “get in… get the f**k in the car” before it sped away.

 

This week, Dean’s terminally ill mother Geraldine, who believes Dean was murdered, revealed it is now more urgent than ever that she find her son as she was diagnosed with lung cancer in May and given just 12 months to live.

“The cancer, I never ever thought something like that could happen to me,” a heartbroken Geraldine told the Sunday World.

“But then, a few nights after the doctors told me how bad it was, all I could think was that maybe this was Dean calling me to him. Because I always took care of him.

“I was diagnosed with cancer of the lungs in May. They said maybe a year or 14 months.

“That’s why I’m doing this today [issuing the appeal] because when doctors say a year, it could be four years or it could be nine weeks.

“It kills me to know Dean is out there and I just want him home. It’s not about finding out what happened – it’s just about getting him home.

Gardaí have launched a number of high-profile searches for Dean – most recently searching land in Muckalee in North Kilkenny in February.

However, they have been unsuccessful up to this point. 

Geraldine said her only concern is having Dean’s body returned and is not interested in seeing anyone arrested.

 

Damien Hipwell with our reporter

“There’d be no grudges held. I have no fight left in me now. 

“But I want to fight because I’d do anything to get him home – just to have somewhere to go.

“I just want to bury him and have somewhere for me to go with him. If I die, I’ve told my sons I don’t want to be buried.

“I want to be brought home here and kept in an urn until Dean is found. All I’d say to the people involved is that this has gone on a long time now and whoever they are I forgive them.

“And I’d say I’m sorry if Dean came across to be a horrendous person because he was not. If he did something to you, I’m sorry.

“And no matter what happened, I forgive you, but please let me bring him home. That would make me get up and fight this cancer. But I’d gladly die tomorrow if I had my son home, I’d gladly die tomorrow. I’d give any a reward.”

Geraldine remembers as if it was yesterday the moment Dean left the family home in Hebron Park to go and buy a car.

“He was in good spirits and said he was going out to buy the car. I told him not to because I knew he’d get himself in trouble with the Gardaí driving without tax or insurance.

“Dean was no angel, but he was a good-natured young fella and I did everything I could since he started using heroin to keep him out of trouble.”

 

After leaving his mum, Dean travelled to the home of Nicky Healy in Ballyfoyle by taxi, where he bought a 1998 Mitsubishi Lancer from him for €300.

Speaking this week, Nicky said he wishes his phone had been off and that he hadn’t got the call from Dean.

“He seemed like a nice young fella and told me he wanted the car to go working in the country. He indicated as he was driving out the gate and I thought nothing more of it,” he said.

According to a timeline of what followed given by Gardaí to Geraldine and Dean’s friend Damien Hipwell – who has campaigned relentlessly to keep the spotlight on Damien’s disappearance – Dean crashed the car into a ditch shortly after leaving Nicky Healy’s house.

“The Gardaí told us the car was crashed shortly afterwards and that Dean then carried out two burglaries in the area,” Damien told the Sunday World.

“Geraldine doesn’t accept that, but that’s what the Gardaí said. The only real clue we have left involves a light-coloured car we learned about from a neighbour.

“We were out there in Ballyfoyle the week after the disappearance and we bumped into a neighbour who said Dean had knocked on her door at about 9.30pm. She said he seemed dazed and she asked him if he needed help.

“She went back inside to get her phone and then when she came back out she saw a silver or light-coloured car pull up on the road outside her home.

“It was pitch black that night, but she told us she heard someone shout from the car: ‘Get in… get the f**k in the car.”

“We have been frustrated with the Garda investigation because we don’t feel enough has been done to trace the car.

“The Gardaí said they had a number of cars in the area around that time because they were responding to calls saying there had been a car crashed and two reports of burglaries involving Dean.

“But we believe the car was involved and that it is the key to what happened that night.”

Although relations have been strained between Gardaí and the family, Nicky Healy says extensive searches have been carried out for Dean involving Gardaí and the army.

“There’s been a lot of searches and the Gardaí quizzed everyone out here after it happened. But what I don’t understand is why they [Gardaí] weren’t able to ping his phone?” said Nicky.

“He had the phone with him when he was buying the car. I can’t think why anyone out here would do anything to that young lad because he seemed a nice enough young fella to me.

“But if he was taken away in that car, or if he owed money to someone for drugs, who knows what could have happened then. I just don’t think anything would have happened to him out here.”

In March of this year Gardaí issued a renewed appeal in the case on RTE’s CrimeCall.

Inspector Joe Carton said there may have been a light-coloured car of interest to the investigation seen in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the family on their Facebook Page ‘Dean Roche Missing Person Kilkenny’ or on 085 244 0115. Gardaí in Kilkenny can be contacted on 0567775000 or through the confidential helpline on 1800 666111.