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unanswered questions Missing Saoirse Smyth may have been trafficked into sex trade, says family member

Gran’s desperate dying wish is to get her beloved granddaughter’s body back but cousin is sure she’s been sold into vice trade.

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Vera Smyth, the grandmother of missing Belfast woman Saoirse Smyth, and granddaughter Nicole have made a fresh appeal in the search for Saoirse who disappeared in April 2017

Vera Smyth, the grandmother of missing Belfast woman Saoirse Smyth, and granddaughter Nicole have made a fresh appeal in the search for Saoirse who disappeared in April 2017

Vera Smyth, the grandmother of missing Belfast woman Saoirse Smyth, and granddaughter Nicole have made a fresh appeal in the search for Saoirse who disappeared in April 2017

MISSING Saoirse Smyth may have been trafficked into the sex trade, her cousin has told the Sunday World.

Members of her family believe she may be still alive and is being held against her will, four years after the world accepted she was dead.

Her disappearence in 2017 and, the police’s suspicion she is dead, has not dimmed her family’s determination to discover the truth.

Police have accepted she died at a holiday home in Omeath but for members of her family that acceptance is not enough – and they believe there are too many questions to be answered.

And they also believe she could still be alive.

PSNI investigators suspect she may have been murdered by a man who has connections to a cross-border drugs gang and suspected she was in a relationship with a love rival.

While some are convinced she is dead, others believe she has been trafficked for sex by the criminal gang she became entangled with.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World her heartbroken gran Vera spoke of her family’s torment and her dying wish to give the young woman she brought up since she was a child a Christian burial.

Yet her cousin Nicole is convinced she is alive and is being held, drugged and used for sex.

The Belfast woman was last seen by her family four years ago before she returned to Omeath in Co Louth where she lived.

She has never been seen or heard from since.

A cross border police investigation led the police to conclude that Saoirse, who was involved with a criminal gang in Newry, had been murdered.

A search was later conducted two years ago by detectives from the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI), supported by the Louth Divisional Search Team, Garda Technical Bureau, specialist Forensic Archaeologist and specialist Cadaver Search dogs.

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Her body has never been found.

“At the start I had hope, I thought she would just turn up here someday but that will never happen. I have now come to terms that she is dead.

“Someone murdered my poor girl, I know that.all I can pray for now is to find her body and be able to let her rest in peace, give her a proper burial, the I can rest in peace too when the time comes,” Vera Smyth told Sunday World.

“At the start I thought she might have gone on a holiday but the police checked all the airports and boats. Then I thought that she had been put on the game, pardon my French but now I know in my heart that she was murdered.

“I just want her body back. Someone knows something and I beg anyone who does to speak out, tell us what happened and where her body is. They can ease all this heartbreak by making a phone call anonymously, that’s all they would have to do,” said the West Belfast gran.

There are four suspects the police have investigated however the family have been told there is not enough evidence for them to pursue the case.

“The main suspects are all from Newry. Like my Granny says someone knows something, I don’t know how they keep quiet, how that could not eat away at you,” said cousin Nicole Smyth.

“Personally, I still believe she is alive, I really believe she has been trafficked for sex and kept somewhere. You hear stories that they are injected everyday and then they don’t even know where they are or who they are.”

“I believe she is out there and she can’t ask for help. I know this might sound stupid but I have seen mediums and they have never mentioned Saoirse’s name. They have mentioned my mummy who died and other family members but never her.

“I have not given up hope, I believe that I will see her again, I have too. I hope she reads this and if she does I want to tell her, no matter what she has done or what has happened we won’t judge you. You can always come home.,” Nicole said.

Saoirse had a habit of falling in with bad crowds who exploited her vulnerability.

“She didn’t really have friends, she would have had to buy them, probably with drugs. She was on benefits so she was probably selling for the gang she was involved with. She probably owed money too.

“The people she was running with are dangerous, I know that. I know there is a possibility that she owed money to the gang and they killed her. I know that she didn’t turn up to my mummy’s funeral or mu uncles and that her bank account hasn’t been touched but I still can’t give up all hope.

“I miss her, we all do, she was like a sister to me. She was a wee witch but she was troubled losing her mum at such a young age but there was a kindness to her too, she would give you her last fiver,” Nicole revealed.

Vera is so exhausted with the not knowing that she says she doesn’t even want to know who killed her 31-year-old granddaughter.

“I don’t even want to know who done it now, I just want to know where they buried her. I am 75 years old and I am not here for long. It is tormenting for me. I always think about that poor girl, Lisa Dorrian, her family, what they are going through. I know what they are feeling and you wouldn’t wish that on anyone. It is terrible.

“The people involved, the people with the information that can end this torment have no conscience. There are some very evil people in the world,” Vera added.

Nicole made a heartbreaking appeal to anyone who knows anything to speak out.

“I’m not joking, we would be on our knees begging if we could. Please end our pain, you get used to it as the time passes but it never goes away but someone out can help, especially for my granny, she needs peace.”

paula.mackin@sundayworld.com

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