Annie McCarrick: Crucial faxes lay in gardai files for over 30 years

Tom Rock, who led the Annie McCarrick missing person’s incident room, said neither he nor the investigation team ever received the faxes

Annie McCarrick was an American who moved to Ireland

Last confirmed sighting of Annie McCarrick in 1993

Patrick O'Connell

Crucial faxes, outlining allegations that Annie McCarrick was assaulted by a person known to her prior to her disappearance, have been in the possession of gardai for the past 30 years, a senior source has confirmed.

It is understood the faxes were found by investigators assigned to the current investigation among correspondence relating to the case dating from 1993.

The source said it is possible the faxes were mishandled on their initial receipt by gardai and may have gotten “lost” amongst “‘large amounts of correspondence” surrounding the case.

“There is correspondence that has been in the possession of gardai since the time of the original investigation matching the description of the faxes people are now speaking about,” a senior source told the Sunday World.

Asked why members of the original team were unaware of the existence of the faxes, the source said: “We have come a long way in terms of file management and incident room management in the last 30 years.

Last confirmed sighting of Annie McCarrick in 1993

“I’m not saying the correspondence was located in a box with Annie McCarrick’s name written on top of it,” he said.

“But these are not documents that have only been recently recovered either.

“They were already there when the new investigation team was set up.”

Two of the original investigators in the case were interviewed this week for RTE’s Missing: Beyond the Vanishing Triangle.

Former Garda Detective Tom Rock, who led the Annie McCarrick missing person’s incident room, said neither he nor the investigation team ever received the faxes.

He said: “These faxes never came into the possession of the investigation team. I was never aware of these faxes.

“They definitely would have taken the investigation in a different direction.

“That is a source of annoyance and frustration to me and I would know it to be a source of annoyance and frustration to all of the investigation team.”

His colleague, Val Smyth, was the detective tasked with questioning the people named by Annie’s family at the time of her disappearance.

He said: “I’m not aware that anyone known to Annie hit her.

“There was never any question of … assaulting Annie at any time.”

The Sunday World also spoke this week with former sergeant Alan Bailey who was in charge of the Garda Cold Case Unit and asked him if the faxes had come to the attention of Operation Trace when it examined the McCarrick case in 1998.

He confirmed that Operation Trace was not aware of the existence of the faxes or the content of the allegations contained in them.

The current investigation team, which saw the status of their inquiries upgraded to murder in March, are currently refocussing on a number of persons of interest.

Two of these are brothers who were known to Annie McCarrick – one of whom is believed to have been the individual who struck Annie prior to her disappearance.

Both these individuals and their alibis were questioned by the original investigation team in 1993 and again by officers attached to Operation Trace in 1998.

Bailey said: “These brothers were questioned before, but they had an alibi, so something has changed. They are already known to the investigation team.

“I am glad to see the case is now a murder case, it is something I had called for for a long time.

“It gives the gardai more powers and it also shows the cold case unit don’t give up on things, even when people get frustrated that it’s not happening quick enough.”

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