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mystery disappearance Will we ever discover what happened to Trevor Deely?


Trevor Deely

Trevor Deely

Trevor Deely

Why is this week a particularly difficult one for the family of Trevor Deely?

Because it marks the 20th anniversary of arguably the most notable missing person case in recent Irish history.

Last Monday, friends and relatives of Trevor gathered near Haddington Road in Dublin, where he was last seen, and launched another appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

"He is the baby of our family and we have spent the last two decades doing all we can to find him," said his sister Michele.

"The pain of not knowing where Trevor is is getting more and more difficult to bear. Please help us."

Who exactly is Trevor Deely?

Trevor, from Naas, Co Kildare, was 22 at the time he disappeared. He stood over six feet tall, had red hair and usually walked with his arms straight down by his sides.

He worked in the IT department at Bank of Ireland Asset Management, where he was regarded as an ambitious, reliable and popular colleague.

"He was almost the perfect employee," his manager Daragh Treacy has recalled. "He was a very happy guy. He had this big, happy face on him. He never bitched about other people or gave out about them."

What are Trevor's last known movements?

On the evening of Thursday, December 7, 2000, Trevor attended his company's Christmas party, which ended with drinks at Buck Whaley's nightclub on Lower Leeson Street. He left there shortly after 3.25am.

Dublin's taxi drivers were on strike, so Trevor had to walk through a heavy storm to his apartment in Balls- bridge.

Along the way, he dropped in to his office on Leeson Street Bridge and picked up an umbrella.

He drank coffee with a colleague who was on the night shift and left shortly after 4am.

At 4.14am, CCTV captured Trevor going by a Bank of Ireland ATM at the top of Haddington Road.

He never made it home.

Is it possible that nobody else was involved?

That seems unlikely.

Everyone who knew Trevor agrees he had absolutely no reason to take his life.

A popular theory was that he had stumbled into the Grand Canal or River Dodder and drowned. However, garda divers searched both bodies of water and nothing was found.

In any case, Trevor's sister tried to call him several times over the weekend before she knew he was missing and is fairly sure his phone rang out.

Any mobile back then that was immersed in water would have stopped working almost immediately.

So that suggests Trevor had some kind of encounter with an unknown person?

Yes, which gives added importance to another piece of CCTV footage that emerged in April 2017.

Images taken from a camera outside the bank's entrance that night were sent to Britain and digitally enhanced with new software.

They revealed that when Trevor arrived at the gates of his workplace, he exchanged a few words with a man who had been waiting there for about half-an-hour.

The man was dressed in dark or black clothing and was no longer visible when Trevor came out again.

In the film of Trevor on Haddington Road, someone can be seen half-walking and half-running about 30 seconds behind him.

Gardaí believe it is the same individual who spoke briefly to Trevor earlier, and for obvious reasons they would like to identify him.

Didn't it appear at one stage that the case was close to being solved?

Yes, but that didn't happen. Also in 2017, gardaí received a tip-off that Trevor had been murdered by a well-known Crumlin criminal.

This alleged suspect was part of a gang that ran drugs and prostitution operations around the Baggot Street area.

According to the informant, Trevor had a chance encounter with this man and it resulted in the young bank worker being shot dead.

Acting on information received, gardaí began searching a three-acre woodland site owned by South Dublin County Council in Chapelizod.

They were digging for six weeks, but no human remains were found.

A gun was discovered, but gardaí do not believe it had any connection with Trevor.

Why has Trevor's disappearance remained in the public memory much more than similar cases?

That's largely thanks to his friends and relatives, who organised a remarkable publicity campaign.

Images of Trevor's face appeared on lampposts all over Dublin city centre and even today it is still widely recognised.

The investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Michael Fitzgerald, later recalled: "I've never worked on a case where the family were so proactive."

Twenty years on, the Deelys remain just as committed to finding Trevor.

New posters have been produced, with a reminder that there is still a €100,000 reward (from an anonymous donor) for anyone who comes forward with critical information.

These are also being displayed in prisons across Ireland, with the hope that some inmate might have their memory jogged.

"When Trevor was missing a few years, people were saying, 'Ah, sure that lad is gone, he has to be dead'," says his brother Mark.

"Maybe they're right, but until we know for certain, I think we owe it to Trevor to keep searching."

Finally, after all this time, will we ever know for sure what happened to Trevor?

There's every reason to hope.

Many mysteries have been solved decades later, either because people involved remembered a crucial detail, were no longer afraid to come forward or wanted to clear their consciences.

In this case, at least one thing seems almost certain - somebody, somewhere knows something.

"We believe the answers we require may be found in the community," says Inspector Katherina Joyce.

"We are appealing to those who, for whatever reason, have not been in a position to come forward to date to reconsider contacting us."

Anyone with any information, no matter how small or insignificant they may believe it to be, can call the incident room at Pearse Street garda station on 01 6669000, Crimestoppers on 1800 250 025 or any garda station.

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Online Editors