News

Pregnant Dublin woman's fears grow for her missing husband

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Missing: Joseph Whelan
Missing: Joseph Whelan

A pregnant Dublin mother-of-three has spoken of her fear that harm has been done to her husband who has been missing since Good Friday.

Sonya Whelan told the Herald she has been "crawling through ditches" to try to find her husband Joseph (37) who disappeared without a trace after leaving his home in Ashbourne, County Meath.

A shoe and a jacket belonging to Mr Whelan were discovered on farmland and in a back garden in Cavan in recent days. 

The 37-year-old father left his home shortly after 11pm on April 4 to return two laptops to his friend in Ballyjamesduff, County Cavan but hasn't been seen since. Sonya believes that there is little hope left of finding her husband alive. 

"Something happened to him, and somebody is covering it up," she told the Herald.

"I have been traipsing through farmland, pig styes and bogs since Good Friday with not a guard in sight.

She explained how Mr Whelan travelled to Monaghan to deliver a laptop to a friend in Cavan on the night he mysteriously disappeared. Before he reached his destination, however, he pulled into a housing estate in Virginia. 

"I got a call at about 12.15am to say that he had pulled into the Swiftbrook estate about 10 miles from my home," friend Darren Monaghan said. "He said he had no tax on the car and had a headlight out and that he had seen a squad car.
 
"He asked would I come and get him, and I told him I had a few drinks, so I sent my wife. But when she arrived at The Swiftbrook Estate there was no sign of him.
 
"He was in good spirits and there didn't seem to be anything wrong with him at all, he just didn't want to risk getting caught with the car."
 
Mr Monaghan then got a phone call from Mr Whelan at approximately 12.48am, telling him he was in a field being "chased by five police".
 
"I asked what he was talking about but the line went dead," Mr Monaghan said.
 
Privately-owned CCTV footage obtained by the Herald shows Mr Whelan wandering around the Swiftbrook estate shortly after 12.35am.
 
The dad, who works at Merchant Quay drug rehab centre in Dublin, wandered in and out of front gardens before disappearing down the side of a house, the footage shows. 
 
The Blanchardstown man was known to gardai but only for minor offences and is not considered a criminal. However, sources say that gardai are examining whether Mr Whelan had fallen foul of a criminal or criminals based in Co Cavan.
 
His blue 02-registered Volkswagen Passat car was recovered at the Swiftbrook Glen estate in Virginia on Easter Monday.
 
"We have been doing all the searching ourselves," said Mrs Whelan. "I have been out scaling ditches and searching fields, I just don't know what else to do. I have no more tears left to cry. The kids are worried sick.
 
"It's just not like him. He would always check in on the kids, he adores them."
 
The field where Mr Whelan's runner was found is close to the River Blackwater.
 
His jacket was found in the garden of a house in the Swiftbrook estate. The Irish Underwater Search and Rescue Unit were using sonar technology to scan the river last night but uncovered nothing.