10th anniversary | 

Sister of missing Esra Uyrun says not knowing what happened to her is 'torture'

Esra was last seen leaving her home in Collinstown Grove in Clondalkin, Dublin around 7.15am. on February 23, 2011.
Esra Uyrun

Esra Uyrun

Alan Sherry

THE sister of a missing woman Esra Uyrun has said not knowing what happened to her is torture on the 10th Christmas that has passed since her disappearance.

Esra was last seen leaving her home in Collinstown Grove in Clondalkin, Dublin around 7.15am. on February 23, 2011.

The mother-of-one’s car was later found in Bray, Co. Wicklow, but CCTV couldn’t determine who was driving the vehicle.

Esra had moved to Ireland from the UK after her husband Ozgur got a job here.

Her sister Berna, who lives in London and spent years trying to find answers as to what happened to Esra, was not able to come over on the anniversary of her disappearance for the first time this year due to Covid restrictions in February.

She had planned to come over for National Missing Persons Day earlier this month but was told a week beforehand that it was going to be a virtual ceremony due to rising Covid numbers.

“They did it virtually again. It was sad because I didn’t get to meet all the families that I normally see. It’s just a different atmosphere when you’re all there together and know you’re all going through the same thing and all understand each other.

It’s the second year they’ve done that.

“It was really hard not being able to go over especially in February because it was the 10th anniversary. but the borders were shut.

“We were planning to bring lanterns down to the Bray and let them off. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’re not going to lock down borders for February.”

Missing woman Esra Uyrun

Missing woman Esra Uyrun

Berna said it is torture not having any answers but said she was so grateful to people in Ireland who put up posters on the anniversary of Esra’s disappearance.

“It is torture. When you have no answers it just feels like torture. Your hands are tied and you can’t do anything especially when no one comes forward. Not being able to go over this year and put up posters was hard.

Esra's sister Berna is trying to find out what happened to her sister.

Esra's sister Berna is trying to find out what happened to her sister.

“I was so grateful that so many people went out and put up posters for me. They printed off the posters themselves and put them up in Clondalkin and Bray. I was really grateful for their help. So many people messaged me and said we’ll do it for you, God bless them.”

Berna said Christmas is particularly hard for families of missing people and her mother no longer celebrates Christmas.

“It’s so sad. By now I would have had Esra’s Christmas card. She was always the first to send out Christmas cards and it’s just sad that another year goes by and we can’t be together.”

She said Esra loved Christmas and always travelled back to the UK to be with her family and celebrate.

Berna will have a low-key Christmas with her daughters and grand-daughters this year but her mother hasn’t celebrated Christmas at all in the 10 years since Esra went missing.

“We don’t really do a big Christmas at all anymore. We stopped doing it.

“I’ll probably end up going to mum's a day or two after Christmas because she doesn’t like to be reminded of it. There’s no tree, there’s no decorations or anything. It’s just another normal weekend. We don’t do presents or anything at mum’s house.”

Berna said despite getting no answers over the past 10 years she believes someone will eventually come forward with information.

“I believe one day someone is going to come forward because somebody must know. You don’t just disappear and nobody knows.

“It’s getting that person to realise deep down inside they need to talk and getting them to come forward. We’ve always said we don’t need to know who you are, just provide the information.”

Gardai have previously told Berna that they believe her sister died by suicide but Berna believes something else could have happened.

Esra left her home at Collinstown Grove in Clondalkin at 7.15am on February 23, 2011 telling her husband she was going to the shops. The first sighting of the car on CCTV was at a nearby roundabout 30 minutes after she left her house despite the fact it is only five minutes away from the home.

The Renault Twingo car she was driving was later spotted in Bray, Co. Wicklow, where CCTV showed it nearly colliding with a Skoda Octavia. It was not clear who was driving the car from the CCTV. Berna has reiterated her appeal for the driver of the Octavia to come forward.

After that incident the Renault was driven into Bray Head car park before driving away and then driving back before it was finally parked in a CCTV blind spot. Berna said there is no CCTV to show Esra was driving the car and no trace of her in Bray.

“The only thing I keep going back on is her car was found in Bray but we’ve never found anything in Bray after numerous searches. We also keep going back to the discrepancy in time [between Esra leaving her house the car first being picked up on CCTV] wondering did something happen near her home.

“Why did it take half an hour to drive what should have taken four or five minutes? It was mid-term break so there wasn’t much traffic on the road so it’s even quicker than that. For her car to take half an hour to get there has always been at the back of mind.

"Was she flagged down, was she stopped, did someone get in her car or get her out of her car this goes round and round in my head all the time? Unfortunately, there’s no proof of anything.”

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