LAST week Antoinette Smith should have been celebrating her 56th birthday.
Instead her family were marking yet another year that the devoted mum had been cruelly stolen from their lives. It’s been just over 29 years since Antoinette, or Angie as she was affectionately known, disappeared after a night out in Dublin in July, 1987.
Her body was found almost a year later on April 3 1988, dumped in a drain by a turf-cutters’ road on Glendoo Mountain. She had been strangled.
Despite almost three decades passing from losing her bubbly mum, her daughter Lisa has not given up hope her murderer will be brought to justice.
Lisa, who was just seven when her mum died, told me in a previous interview: “We are hopeful that we will get justice one day. The fact that it is so long and people’s lives change…people’s behaviour changes, time changes people.”
And Lisa is right; someone, somewhere, knows something about what happened her.
Sometimes we only focus on unsolved cases like Antoinette’s on certain dates or anniversaries, when really we should always have them in the back of our minds. She may not have been your mum, sister or your friend, but she could have been.
And with the person responsible for her violent death still roaming the streets, it still could be.
Below is Lisa’s interview with me, published in the Irish Daily Star in July.
By Patricia Devlin
THE daughter of tragic Antoinette Smith has sent a defiant message to her mum’s killer, saying: “One day your time will come and you will be caught.”
Lisa (36) made the courageous comments on the 29th anniversary of her mum’s death.
The Clondalkin mum-of-two (27) disappeared after a night out with friends on July 11, 1987.
Her body was found a year later in a drain on Glendoo mountain. She had been strangled.
Despite almost three decades passing since her brutal death, no-one has ever been brought to justice.
Today daughter Lisa says the family have not given up hope, and say they believe they will see the person responsible put behind bars.
“We are hopeful that we will get justice one day,” she told The Star. “The fact that it is so long and people’s lives change…people’s behaviour changes, time changes people. So somewhere, out there, someone knows something. However small, someone knows something.
“And for me to get closure I need someone to be caught so I could look them in the eye and ask them, why? Just, why?
“They robbed me and my sister of a future, they robbed her of her memories of her children. They robbed her children of their mother guiding them through life. She never got to see us through school, see us playing football, go see us at school concerts.
“She was only 27 and when I think of all the big things I’ve got to do, my mam never got to do it, I just feel so sad.
“She never had a holiday abroad, she never even got to go on a hen do. When we had our big birthdays, like my 21st and my 30th, I kept wishing my mam was there. It just makes me sad. She has missed out on so much and we’ve missed out on so much and it makes me angry sometimes. It’s not fair.
“But the person that done this has now lived their life. They’ve probably got a family, they’ve seen their kids grow up, probably help them walk down the aisle, I’ll never get that.”
Angie had been partying with friends after going to see David Bowie at Slane Castle on July 11 1987, when she was last seen alive.
She was wearing dark blue denim jeans, a denim jacket, a David Bowie T-shirt and a pair of navy-blue high heels (size 5). She was also carrying a Texaco sports bag which has never been recovered.
It was nearly a year later when her body was found, on April 3 1988, dumped in a drain by a turf-cutters’ road on Glendoo Mountain, near the Lemass monument outside Enniskerry. No-one has ever been convicted of her murder.”Being seven I had no real concept of someone dying, so the best way my family described my mum’s death to me was that, your mammy’s in heaven, look for the brightest star in the sky, that’s her. What do you tell two children who have no concept of it?
“It is fitting that they said look for the bright star, because that’s what she was.
“She was bubbly, funny, loved her make-up and heels, and her music – something she passed on to me.
“The last big memory I have of my mum was my communion. At least she got to see me in a white dress, but eventually if I do get married she won’t be there for that.”
In 2013 cold case detectives relaunched their appeal for information over Angie’s death.
They said investigators wanted to speak to two men who may have shared a taxi with the mum-of-two on the night she disappeared.
A taxi driver who contacted gardai is convinced he picked up Angie on Westmoreland Street in the city centre at about 3.30am.
He told detectives she was with two men – then aged in their early 20s – and they were dropped off near the Yellow House pub in Rathfarnham, at the foot of the Dublin Mountains.
The driver said the passengers had been in Abrakebabra on Westmoreland Street and were talking about going to a house party in Rathfarnham.
One of the men, who would now be in their 40s, was tall with dark hair and spoke with a soft Dublin accent. The other had collar length hair and was also from Dublin. It is understood these men have never came forward.
At the time brave Lisa and Rachel also made a joint public appeal in a bid to help the investigation into their mother’s death.
Lisa also took the brave decision to visit the spot where her mother’s body was found.
“It was horrendous,” she said. “To think that someone had so little regard for her. It was numbing and chilling because whoever put her there did not want her to be found.
“And for all I know I am walking past that person everyday. It’s scary to think they are walking around scot-free. And all we can do is appeal to people’s better nature for that one little bit that could fit into the jigsaw, that could seem so irrelevant.”
Re-appealing for the public’s help to catch the person responsible for murdering her mum, Lisa said: “We are still a grieving family, we were never able to grieve for her properly because it is still unsolved. Until we can get justice she won’t be able to rest.
“Please, if you have any information, however small you think it might be, it could be significant. It could trigger somebody else.
“I think I saw something suspicious, or an ex-partner or family member was acting weird back then. It was big weekend in Dublin as well. You had a major concert on and a major event on in Croke Park which was the Ulster final, it could jog anyone’s memory.
“Someone knows something. Help us get our mum justice.”