"Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about."
It was the 28th of July 1998. A Tuesday. Eighteen year old Deirdre Jacob was at home for the Summer in Roseberry, Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland. Deirdre had lived her whole life in Newbridge and went to primary and secondary school there. When she finished school, she moved to London in the United Kingdom to study.
Deirdre was studying to become a teacher. Despite moving to London, she still visited her family home in Newbridge often and even worked there at a school to gain some experience. When college classes finished for the Summer break, Deirdre moved straight back to Newbridge and in with her parents, Michael and Bernie, and younger sister Ciara for the Summer months.
Deirdre and Michael
That day, the 28th of July, Deirdre had a few things to do in Newbridge. Her home in Roseberry was around a twenty five minute walk into the centre of Newbridge so Deirdre set off that morning to make her way into the town. That evening, when Deirdre's mother got home, the house was locked and there was no sign of Deirdre. She should have been home before Bernie was home so the family called Deirdre's friends to see if they had heard from her but she wasn't with them. Fearing something may have happened to Deirdre, they called the police.
The police retraced Deirdre's movements. Deirdre was in Newbridge that day as planned. When she first got there, she went to visit her grandmother who owned a shop in the town. She then went to get a bank draft from the Bank. When she got that, she walked across the road and went into the post office to post it to her friend in London. She needed to make a payment to secure her accommodation in London for her second year of college. Everything seemed normal that day. Deirdre was on her own. We know that she was alone and in Newbridge because there was CCTV footage of her taken at various times and locations throughout the town.
When she posted the bank draft, Deirdre went back to her grandmother's shop again to say goodbye to her before walking home. She left Newbridge to begin her walk home at around 2.30pm that afternoon.
CCTV of Deirdre
Deirdre was familiar with Newbridge and the walk back to her house. It was a walk she had done multiple times before even when she was just a child. There were many lanes that provided short cuts to her home. It is not clear if Deirdre walked all the way down Main Street that day and then turned left towards Newbridge College or if she went through some of the laneways. Deirdre may have cut through the college as the back college gate led to a road called Barretstown Road.
The walk from Barretstown Road to Deirdre's house would have taken Deirdre just ten minutes or so and there were eight sightings of her on that road. So by all accounts, whether Deirdre walked down the main street or took short cuts on her way home, she made it on to the Barretstown Road, the final stretch of road towards her home.
Six people who saw her on that road knew Deirdre. A man cycled past Deirdre and recognised her. Another two people on the sidewalk said hello to her and another two people saw her crossing the road. A man fixing a roof also saw Deirdre. At that stage she was was at the Bog Cross which was just a few minutes from her home.
Bernie and Michael
A passenger in a car driving past Deirdre's house saw Deridre at her own driveway. They remembered because of the bag she was carrying with her that day. So according to people who said they saw Deirdre that day, she made it to her own driveway and was just yards from her front door. It was around 3pm. That was the last time she was seen. Deirdre never made it into her home that afternoon. After that last sighting of Deirdre, it was as if she just vanished without a trace.
A similar bag to the one Deirdre had
Still to this day, there is no answer as to exactly what happened to Deirdre that day. It was a bright and sunny Summer day, there were people out and about on the street and yet Deirdre vanished from the driveway of her own home. Did something happen to Deirdre close to her home? Did she change her mind and go somewhere else that day? Did a passer by abduct Deirdre? Was she followed home? Was someone waiting for her? In August 2018 police reclassified the investigation as a murder case.
Like in all missing person cases, there are a number of rumours about what may have happened to Deirdre. One frightening rumour involved a well known name in Ireland. Larry Murphy. Larry worked as a carpenter and as a tradesman and may have had a job in the area at the time. Larry is a well known figure in Ireland. In 2001, he brutally raped and tried to kill a woman in the Wicklow Mountains. He was sentenced to fifteen years in prison but served ten. When he was released from prison , he left Ireland and spent time in Amsterdam and London.
A prisoner claimed that Larry confessed to the murder of Deirdre while he was serving his prison sentence. Those allegations led to a number of unsuccessful searches for Deirdre's body around the Wicklow Mountains. The investigation into what happened to Deirdre is still ongoing. Despite a prisoner saying Larry confessed, no charges were ever brought against Larry Murphy in relation to this case.
While there have been many rumours and suspects in this case, the fact is that the case is still very much open. Somebody knows something and until they reveal what it is they know, Deirdre's family will never give up looking for her. They can't. She will always very much be a member of their family, a much loved member and until they know what happened to Deirdre, they will continue to search for her.
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"When someone just disappears for no reason, it's shocking, it's devastating. I just feel like my life stopped that day and I've just been in a tailspin ever since."
- Adam Vaughan, Janine's brother
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