Sandra Collins Missing: What Happened to Sandra Collins?

Sandra Collins Missing: What Happened to Sandra Collins?

an image of sandra collins
The mystery of Sandra Collins, the pregnant woman who disappeared from Killala in 2000, remains unsolved. Her lover was tried and acquitted, but her family still hopes for justice.PHOTO COURTESY:Instagram

Sandra Collins was a 28-year-old woman who disappeared from Killala, Co. Mayo, on the night of December 4, 2000.

She was pregnant at the time and had planned to travel to England for a termination.

Her case was upgraded from a missing person to a murder investigation by An Garda Síochána, but her body has never been found and no one has been convicted of her killing.

Her family and the gardaí are still appealing for information and hoping to find closure after 22 years of anguish.

The Last Sighting of Sandra Collins

Sandra Collins lived with her aunt in Killala, where she worked as a carer.

She had four siblings and was described as a fun, kind, and vivacious person

On the morning of her disappearance, she visited her GP and found out she was pregnant.

told her doctor she intended to have an abortion in Britain and obtained the numbers of two clinics there.

She spent most of the day making phone calls from a phone box in Killala, trying to arrange her trip.

She also called a local plasterer named Martin Earley, who later admitted to having a sexual relationship with her around that time.

The last confirmed sighting of Sandra Collins was at about 11 pm on December 4, 2000, when she bought chips in a takeaway on George’s Street in Killala.

She was wearing a light pink fleece jacket, jeans, and black boots.

The Discovery of Sandra Collins’ Jacket

Five days after Sandra Collins went missing, her fleece jacket was found on the pier in Killala.

A packet of sausages and two pieces of paper were found in the pockets.

One piece of paper had Martin Earley’s phone number written on it, while the other had the numbers of the abortion clinics in Britain.

jacket was wet and had traces of blood on it, but it was not clear if the blood belonged to Sandra Collins or someone else.

The discovery of the jacket raised the possibility that Sandra Collins had taken her own life by jumping into the sea, but her family and the gardaí did not believe this was the case.

They suspected that she had been abducted, murdered, and buried in a shallow grave somewhere in the area.

launched extensive searches and appeals for information, but no trace of Sandra Collins or her killer was found.

The Trial of Martin Earley

In May 2014, after a cold case review, Martin Earley was arrested and charged with the murder of Sandra Collins.

He pleaded not guilty and went on trial at the Central Criminal Court.

The prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence, such as phone records that showed Sandra Collins had called Earley’s mobile phone and he had called the phone box where she had been seen on the day of her disappearance.

They also presented witnesses who claimed that Earley had made suspicious statements or behaved oddly after Sandra Collins vanished.

However, the defense argued that there was no direct evidence linking Earley to Sandra Collins’ death or disappearance.

pointed out that there was no body, no murder weapon, no crime scene, no motive, and no confession.

They also challenged the credibility and reliability of some of the prosecution witnesses.

After a four-week trial, the jury found Earley not guilty of murder.

He walked out of court a free man but maintained that he had nothing to do with what happened to Sandra Collins.

The Ongoing Appeal for Information

Despite the acquittal of Martin Earley, Sandra Collins’ family and the gardaí have not given up hope of finding out what happened to her and bringing her killer to justice.

They have continued to make public appeals for information and to mark the anniversary of her disappearance every year. They believe that there are people who know something but are afraid or reluctant to come forward.

In December 2021, on the eve of the 21st anniversary of Sandra Collins’ disappearance, her brother Patrick revealed that he had received an anonymous phone call after he was interviewed on Radio.

He said that the caller provided new information that was being followed up by the gardaí and that he was hopeful that this would lead somewhere

He also said that finding his sister’s remains would be like winning the lottery for him and his family.

Sandra Collins would have turned 50 in December 2021.

Her family and An Garda Síochána are encouraging anyone who might have information that perhaps they thought was insignificant at the time to come forward.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Ballina Garda Station at 096-20560 or any Garda Station or use the Garda Confidential Line at 1800-666-111.

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