Allenton Lawns Tallaght
Old Bawn Shopping Centre
An Irish bog
Patricia Doherty spent Monday the 23rd of December 1991 like most young mothers; running errands for Christmas. Throughout the day Patricia had her hair cut short, bought Christmas gifts at the Old Bawn Shopping Centre and did some further shopping at the Square Tallaght. Patricia returned to her home in Allenton Lawns Tallaght South Dublin just before 9pm, however she soon decided to return to the Old Bawn Centre to buy Santa hats for her children. Shockingly this would be the last time Patricia’s family saw her.
On Christmas day 1991 during the afternoon Patrick Doherty Patricia’s husband arrived at Tallaght Garda Station to report his wife missing. When Patrick told the Gardi that the last time he saw Patricia was at 9pm on the 23rd of December, they became suspicious as to why it had taken so long for Patricia to be reported missing especially at Christmas time. When asked about this Patrick told Gardi that his wife had recently started a new job as a prison guard at Mountjoy Prison, and she often work long erratic shifts that sometimes merged into one and other. Patrick told Gardi he presumed his wife had been called into work between the 23rd and 24th of December, and only became concerned when he didn’t see his wife on Christmas morning. At first Patrick phoned Mountjoy Prison and was informed that Patricia hadn’t been in work the two previous days, he then contacted her family who had not heard from Patricia either which prompted him to contact the Gardi.
By the time Patricia was reported missing significant time in relation to a police investigation had been lost and coupled with the report being filed on Christmas day the investigation understandably began slowly. Nonetheless the Gardi where able to find a witness who reported seeing Patricia at 9:20pm on the 23rd of December walking past Bridget Burke’s Pub towards Old Bawn Shopping Centre wearing a full length brown mac jacket and a gold scarf around her head. This sighting seemed to cooperate Patrick Doherty’s version of events concerning the night of the 23rd to Gardi.
A second witness came forward stating that he saw a woman matching Patricia’s description entering a red car at the entrance to Old Bawn Shopping Centre. However, the validity of the second witness’ account was questioned by Gardi as they were a known criminal. If this was the sole reason as to why the second witness’ account was not taken seriously it is worrying and the question has to be asked as to why would a criminal lie in these circumstances. Patricia Doherty had absolutely no connection to criminality and there is nothing for the second witness to gain by coming forward to Gardi. Perhaps when such a person comes forward with a potentially vital account of an event it should be taken more seriously as criminals do not usually want to help police investigations, and may only come forward in relation to a serious matter such as a young innocent mother being abducted. No other witnesses or information ever emerged for Gardi despite their widespread public appeals and full scale missing person’s investigation.
On the 21st of June 1992 a man was cutting turf in the Dublin/Wicklow Mountains in an area known as Glassmucky Breaks, less than mile from where Antoinette Smith’s body was found during the spring of 1988, when he also found human remains. Whilst cutting turf the man noticed that part of the bog had collapsed due to heavy rain, and in the collapsed area he could see a brown mac coat, upon further inspection he noticed that there was a body underneath the coat. He quickly ran to the nearest house and called the Gardi. A key was found in the victim’s clothing, this key was later tested on Patricia’s front door and it worked this confirmed to Gardi that the body belonged to Patricia Doherty. This was later further confirmed by Gardi through dental records. The then Irish State Pathologist Professor Harbison concluded that Patricia was most likely strangled as there was no signs of trauma or a gunshot. A search of the area found some of Patricia’s property scattered throughout the vicinity including the gold head scarf she was wearing the day she vanished.
It is now over 31 years since Patricia Doherty was murdered and nobody has ever been convicted of her murder nor have any arrests been made. At the time there was a widespread media campaign and a televised reconstruction of Patricia’s last movements which led to numerous people contacting Gardi but no useful information came to light. The possibility that Patricia may have been murdered due to her job as a prison guard was investigated, but nothing at all came from this possible lead in fact Patricia was extremely liked at work by staff and inmates and respected by all. No explanation has ever emerged as to why someone would want to murder Patricia and her family remains without any answers.