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Irish man Tom McGinty key to Scotland Yard's oldest missing person case

Tom McGinty was the boyfriend of Mary Flanagan who disappeared on New Year’s Eve 1959.

Mary Flanagan who went missing in 1959
Mary Flanagan who went missing in 1959
Image: Metropolitan Police Service via Website

MARY FLANAGAN WAS described as a “bright and friendly girl from an Irish Catholic family” when she disappeared from her home in east London on New Year’s Eve 1959.

At 16 years of age, she had planned to attend a party. She never made it home and the mystery surrounding her disappearance remains Scotland Yard’s oldest missing person case.

Mary would be 70 this month and to mark that occasion, London police have issued a fresh appeal for information, placing her Irish boyfriend as a central clue in the case.

“”We know Mary may have had a boyfriend called Tom McGinty at the time of her disappearance – I think it is key that we trace this man as he may be able to shed light on the events around New Year in 1960,” said Detective Chief Inspector Dave Rock at Newham Police.

“It is now over 50 years since Mary disappeared and her family have never given up hope of finding her,” he added, mentioning her young siblings Brenda, Eileen and Kevin.

They are desperate to find out what happened to their sister.

Mary worked part-time at the Tate & Lyle sugar factory and also at Haymes Optical Frame shop in Stratford. She attended Holbrook Road Secondary School and volunteered with the Blind Association.

It is believed that her boyfriend Tom McGinty may have been in the Merchant Navy.

“If Tom McGinty is still alive, I would appeal directly to him to make contact with me with any information he may have about Mary. I would also ask anyone who knew of Tom McGinty, or knows of his whereabouts now, to call our appeal number,” continued DCI Rock.

The Met said that “despite extensive investigative work over the years, the story of what happened to Mary has never been discovered”. It remains the oldest missing persons case on its books.

Mary is 5ft 2 inches tall and of medium build with hazel eyes. When she was last seen, she had dark, wavy hair and a tanned complexion. If anyone has any information about Mary or her whereabouts, please call the Newham Police Missing Persons Unit on 0208 217 5728. Alternatively you can call the charity Missing People on 116 000.

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