With conventional enquiries seemingly at a stand-still, Donal invites his former nemesis, turned friend, Wayne Hardy to provide his unique theory on the case, based on his underworld experiences. Wayne opens-up and tells Andrea his own daughter’s story and journey through a chaotic, drug-addicted lifestyle and eventual return home.
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**If you have any information regarding the Georgina Gharsallah case, please contact Sussex Police quoting ‘Operation Pavo’ or via Crimestoppers**
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Donal: On the 7th of March 2018 Georgina Gharsallah left her home in Worthing and vanished without trace.
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Clive Driscoll: Every single case I’ve ever had where I’ve had success historically, is that there’s been a parent or someone who hasn’t allowed the police to forget it, hasn’t allowed the public to forget it.
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Petra: We stop at absolutely nothing we’re not scared; we are not scared.
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Donal: A mother’s journey to uncover the truth.
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Andrea: I want answers I want to find out what happened, and I won’t stop until I do.
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Donal: Murdered, Missing, Unsolved. The search for Georgina.
Episode Seven – Desperate Measures
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Donal: So, Andrea, I've got a plan to bring somebody else in to help us, right. We've got Clive ex police officer, but…. there's somebody I know who I think can make a real difference. I'm a bit nervous about it because it's, it's a bit out there and we've a bit of history together. It's going to be a bit odd, bit difficult, maybe a bit awkward and maybe a bit scary, but I do think he could make a difference, he's due here in about 15 minutes and, uh…. we'll see...
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He went through all of this with his own daughter which he’ll tell you about so….
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Petra: So, is that why he's interested in, in helping?
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Donal: Well, he’s interested in helping because, you know, I called him in, and said, I think I need your help...
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Donal: Now, I’ve come outside because I’ve had a message to say my contact will be arriving shortly and this is an interesting man with a very interesting history. About 25 years-or so ago, I infiltrated the world of drug dealing and bouncers in Nottingham, and in particular one major cross border drug trafficker called Wayne Hardy – over a period of 9 months he knew me as Tony Hearnes, he’d no idea that I was an investigative reporter working undercover for ITVs ‘World in Action.’ I trained at his gym, I got to know him befriended him he got me a job on the doors, and I then found myself very close to him and his organisation.
And as a result of my investigation, he ended up serving a number of years in prison and, in retaliation he put a price on my head of £50,000. After about ten years we buried the hatchet and we’ve been mates ever since. Now, I trust Wayne, Wayne knows the other side of the street he knows the dark side of the city and I believe he could put us in contact people who normally wouldn’t talk to journalists or the police. Now there’s a car approaching and looks like it just might be him, and…. he’s not alone.
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Donal: Right, this is my secret weapon. Um…. this is Wayne Hardy, sit down there.
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Wayne: Yeah, your secret weapon’s been attacked now and again, but that happens in this game doesn’t it.
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Donal: This is Dave.
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Wayne: This is Dave, he’s, my pal.
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Donal: So, Andrea, myself and Wayne have a long history, and he’ll explain that over time, but I would trust Wayne with my life. Um…. he's committed to helping out, he can go places where nobody else can go.
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Wayne: Of course, yeah.
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Wayne: Donal could not be with them people, put it that way.
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Donal: Yeah, well, mind you, for about nine months I was, but anyway.
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Donal: Yeah…. ha, ha, we´ll talk about that later….
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Donal: Okay! Right. Um…so, why don't you talk…. sit down there the pair of you, first of all talk about um… Georgina.
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Wayne: Is that your daughter there?
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Donal: And there.
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Wayne: How long ago was this taken?
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Andrea: Um…. that might have been a year before she...
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Wayne: Um… what did she take with her did she take a mobile phone with her? Was that with her?
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Andrea: A mobile phone…
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Wayne: Did she have any ID with her?
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Andrea: Um…. she got a bank card. She didn't have any ID, because she was waiting for a new driving license, and that came afterwards.
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Wayne: But she had a mobile phone with her?
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Andrea: She had a mobile phone, but it wasn't working, it kept…. the battery wasn't keeping charged. So, she, that…. that morning she said my mobile phone’s not working, so, I gave her an old one of mine, it didn't have a SIM card and her one didn't fit. And this is how the story of her going into a shop, looking for a mobile.
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Wayne: Gotcha…. right. Did she say she was going to meet anybody that day or do you know?
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Andrea: She said she was going to go to the Job centre...
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Wayne: Job centre? Did she…
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Andrea: She might have….
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Wayne: Did she get to the job centre?
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Andrea: No, she never went to the job centre.
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Wayne: She never got there?
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Andrea: But later on, that afternoon like, in August last year when they come up with the second lot of CCTV, 18 months later, she was seen walking through the town with a girl, a woman, but you could only see the back of her.
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Wayne: And do we know what...
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Andrea: No, we don't...
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Wayne: Do we know what time of day this was?
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Andrea: About four o'clock in the afternoon
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Wayne: Is this the same day we're talking about?
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Andrea: And then…
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Donal: So, do you know what we should do, we should get out a computer and show you the reconstruction we've done because effectively, Andrea and Petra here, and the family have been running this investigation by themselves. They dragged me in and asked me to help and I’ve now dragged you in to help but I think let's have a look, some of these….
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Wayne: Somebody, somebody knows something, obviously they don't just disappear like that do they, you know…
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Dave: It’s the girl she’s walking with in town.
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Wayne: Yeah, exactly I would come straight forward wouldn’t you.
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Donal: I’ve stepped out of the room while Wayne and his friend, Dave Francis watch the reconstruction and then the full CCTV clip from the Clifton Road shop. As they watch the CCTV clip in particular, I notice them exchange looks, and a few words and I think I know where their minds are going and what Georgina’s mannerisms say to them when looked at from their knowledge of the dark sides of cities.
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Donal: Wayne is going to offer you suggestions what are going to be very upsetting to you.
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Wayne: I'm just going to tell you, my experience. My daughter was only probably 18 at the time, smoking weed. Little did she know inside that weed, was being mixed with heroin put in the weed. To get hooked on heroin what we talking Dave, 10 days?
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Wayne: 10 days you need.
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Dave: Could be three.
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Wayne: Yeah. I'm giving them a uh…. larger span. You know what I mean? You know, but…. that’s how quick it can happen. And once it’s got a hold of you, it's got a hold of you and then you…. are looking for that. Do you know what I mean? You don't need a dealer coming to you phoning you, believe me, you'll be phoning that person because you need it…. you’re a slave to it, you know what I mean? Um…. my daughter ended up as a prostitute. Um, I've spent thousands upon thousands on her in rehabilitation centres. Didn't work. And she actually, at one point told me that I'm not stopping because I enjoy what I'm doing at the minute…. and that's how it was.
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She stole everything from me, but you've never got down that line. Well, I'm just telling you, it is…. it can proceed very quickly from smoking weed to getting caught, hooked up on heroin, to be in prostitution and then you'll get a whole different ball game, you know what I mean? Um…. it's not a nice thing, but my….my daughter’s come out of it, touch wood…. You know what I mean, and um…. she looks great now, but she's 30, 37 I think now. I mean, and that was from years of 18, but my daughter obviously would've gone missing as well. I mean, I wanted to put a…. I knew the people and I knew the areas and I knew, you know, now and again, I’d get people telling me where she was. I didn't have that worry, so much as um…. she'd gone missing completely. Um…. because I was in a similar business myself. Uh… you know, I could relate to people. Uh…. Dave knows them and I know them, and if we needed to find out, I'd find out within 24 hours where she was or who she was with. Um…. but obviously it's a different situation for yourself because you don't know people, you don't know what she's doing or whether she's done anything or she's just been taken off the street. We don't know. Do we?
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Andrea: But if she'd have been sort of hooked, if she'd got hooked like that and…
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Wayne: I’m not saying she has…
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Andrea: No, no, I’m just saying though, I’ve thought about it lots of times if she had and she’d got with people, she would have been seen, wouldn't she somewhere? She wouldn't be stuck in some room.
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Dave: Supposing if she moves into a different area, because you can move on very fast, especially if you’re smoking and forget about where you came from, like that almost.
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Wayne: And they don't move out of the trap, do they? They stay in the trap...
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Dave: And they literally stop in that trap zone.
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Wayne: People do not move out.
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Dave: Literally they smoke around the clock, do tricks around the clock from day to day to day and a year can go by.
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Andrea: Yeah, but I mean, if she's like off her head and she's on… she wouldn’t be careful, thinking I mustn't be seen because I don't want anyone to find me. I mean we’ve done so much promoting that….
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Wayne: These people won't talk...
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Andrea: All over the place.
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Dave: There's not many tellies in those zones, people don’t sit down and watch telly, they don't listen to radio. They lose touch of what's on the news, what’s going on out on the street, the main focus, one smoke, next smoke.
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Donal: I would say, I would say, I get that. And that is oddly comforting because the alternative is she's dead, but here, but here here's the thought, she had 128 quid coming in every month or every week or whatever.
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Wayne: That's the only daunting part of it I don't like is the money is still in the account because there's no chance that would be in the account if she’s got her card with her.
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Donal: No chance that‘d be gone. I mean it would be gone.
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Dave: But what I’m saying is she's an attractive lady, that 120 pounds…
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Wayne: Correct Davy.
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Dave: She could earn….
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Dave: She’s either lost her card, or forget about the card, or she thinks that the card might lead people to her.
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Dave: She’s an attractive girl, she could easily be earning a grand a day, easy in the right spot.
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Andrea: But she would have been seen by somebody, wouldn’t she?
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Dave: Not around here.
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Wayne: She might not want to be.
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Dave: She wouldn’t be round here.
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Wayne: She could have put a wig on…. changed, whatever….if she doesn’t want to be….
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Dave: London’s a big place and London’s just round the corner, just down the road.
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Andrea: But I don't think she would have gone off and left her kids. No, I think she would've got some message back just to see, are they alright? Even if she had got trapped in...
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Wayne: Let’s just hope… I was hoping, its mm…. she’s OK well…. hopefully I’d rather it be that result than the alternative.
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Donal: Just when you talk about trap house, explain what a trap house is.
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Wayne: Well, it’s a crack house, isn't it? Its where they're all sitting around the tables like we’re in this room here now, they’re all buying and selling it and doing the business in there. Like Dave says they’re not interested in what’s on the TV, are they? You know, they’re not bothered about listening, to me they’re just concerned about where they're getting their drugs from.
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Donal: I’m really conscious that this is a lot for Andrea to take in and process, and I’m also…. aware that Wayne is slightly skirting around the issue, he’s thinking more than he’s talking so I take him and Dave outside to give everyone a little breather and a chance to talk more freely…
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Donal: Tell me what you think, Wayne, what picture do you make of Georgina at that time? That morning in the five minutes CCTV, we know it's her.
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Wayne: I think, um…. She looks very, very, edgy. Alright? And I mean, in the way, as she's trying to get rid of stuff or she's trying to get herself together to go and get some gear. … very fidgety and very, very. scatty. You know what I mean?
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Donal: And, and even if she was a scatty person, she appears to be predictably scatty in the way. And that chaotic lifestyle, you would say, well, nine times out of ten, I would say she's on the gear. When we talk about gear, what are we talking about? Are we talking about heroin? Are we talking crack? And does it matter?
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Wayne: It's not weed is it, it's obviously something much stronger than weed, put it that way? Can’t say what it is, cause I'm not 100% but you know….
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Donal: So, you're painting a picture, that she could easily be in another part of the country, turning tricks and getting crack and wrapped in a world and she could easily, easily be still alive in that narrow, narrow circle...
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Dave: Don't forget she can be, she could have been on the treadmill getting bored shitless doing the same thing day out, day in.
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Wayne: If you get on that treadmill like he says, you're not getting off it quick.
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Dave: It's very easy to get on it.
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Donal: But if she's on the treadmill, she’s turning tricks, she's getting crack and she's...
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Wayne: It's either that or she's dead.
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Donal: Or she's dead, so on one level, on one level, your view is that actually people can be rescued from that scenario so that…
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Wayne: That’s if they want to be,
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Dave: You see the death scenario to me, seems… just…. that don't make sense.
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Donal: We need an incident room where we can come down and say right, go through it because there's so much information. You can get lost in it, but we need to systematically knock it off, knock it off, and eliminate…. Eliminate. This is a line of inquiry, which is very positive.
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Wayne: Get a time slot for us where we can stay down here and knock on these doors and talk to all these people, and let's get some info.
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Donal: Wayne and Dave, was just chatting outside, and so basically here it is, Wayne thinks it's kind of like…. really highly unlikely all things considered that she's dead. It’s much more likely, and this is a darker alternative, it's a perspective a world with your own daughter, Wayne, escaped from. Wayne, do you think it’s much more likely she’s in that kind of scenario than she’s dead cause there’s no evidence….
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Wayne: Well, I think so I’m hoping so and that’s what we’re going to find out isn’t it cause if she’s in that scenario then we…. you know…. can see her coming back, can’t we, know what I mean. Whether she…. obviously she’s got to want to come back wants to come back and that’s the horrible thing about it an all. As I told you before my daughter didn’t want to come back.
Donal: But there’s hope and your daughter has come back, and people do…
Wayne: It took a long time.
Donal: I do remember.
Wayne: Yeah, all I can tell you is my daughter was in it from the age of 18 and she's 37 now, and she's only just in the last 18 months, got herself in order. So, what I'm saying is the drugs overcome everything, it's all about the drugs. I didn't matter. The kids didn't matter. She stole my mum's jewellery, my jewellery, it didn't matter. So, they're feeling that they've got an, a, the addiction, what they have once they’re on certain drugs overrides everything, overrides…. as Dave says, overrides the kids, overrides you, it overrides everything. That's what I'm saying to you. Even if you do find out she is in one of these places or that's what she's doing. I don't even know if she´ll want to come back girl, but at least you'll know and give you some solace and it makes it like they, you know, something has to happen you know but a the moment there’s only those two scenarios, isn’t there you know what I mean.
Andrea: What about something like she left Worthing that day and someone asked her for a lift, you know just asked her to show them the way, and she said, oh, I'll show you because that's the way Georgina is, I’ll show you where it is you know and she got in the car and they did something to her…
Wayne: Yeah, but there…
Andrea: …. Completely different...
Andrea: …from what we're thinking about
Wayne: That's the two scenarios she’s I don't want to say it… She's either dead, or…
Andrea: I'm just saying it's not always…could come to some harm within the drug world.
Wayne: I’m, or we're trying to give you a positive,
Wayne: Although there’s not a positive in it, but until there's a body been found, you can't say she's dead, can you? She's still alive as far as we know. You can't give up I'm afraid, and that's the whole point about what we are we're strong people you know I mean what do we do.
Andrea: …. just keep looking I have to…
Donal: For us all, as we're speaking from the same hymn sheet here, right? Andrea, we are proud of you as a mum. I'm proud to have got you both involved in particularly Wayne. I'm proud because of our heritage, and I would, I literally trust my life with Wayne, but most importantly, Wayne has been through the missing, the pain, the missing weeks, months, the trauma, with all this and there’s a little attachment to what you’ve gone through,
Wayne: Yeah, I can understand what you're feeling right, and it must be killing you.
Donal: So oddly enough, thinking positive is to…. is to maybe go to a dark place, but you can always rescue somebody from a dark place, and you rescued your daughter, so that's possible.
Wayne: Now. I was there for her. I was there for her but at the end of the day. She made her own decision and she decided enough is enough, I've had enough and I’m out of it. And that's what she did. She, she grew up I suppose…. or I don't know, or just got bored of what she was doing.
Donal: So, what we're going to do, we're going to sort out a plan. We'll get Wayne down for a couple of days…
Wayne: Stay positive girl.
Wayne: Stay positive, you’ve got the children to look after, and I know it’s difficult for you it’s got to be. Look, nobody's found any body I don’t like to say that word have they so there’s hope, there is hope.
Andrea: Yeah, there’s hope.
Wayne: Yeah, until we find out what’s happened, you know, we’ve got to keep going, you can't give up you know, there’s no way you’re going to give up, you just need an answer. And…. and I, I don't think you should give up pestering the police either, you know, you're her mother, she's got two kids there. They should understand that they should be getting their fingers out their arses and pushing it forward every day.
Donal: And with that rallying call, Wayne, and Dave head back to Nottingham. They leave us with their theory, based upon their own unique experience and insight, and of course Wayne’s own unique experience with his own daughter but it’s still just a theory and one of many in this missing person case. At this point, their theory holds no more or less weight, than any of the others out there. And after that whirlwind we sit and debrief with Andrea and Petra…
Donal: So, Wayne has said that basically from his experience in the world as a former major drug dealer, and as somebody who has been in and out of that world with crack houses, his own daughter was a crack addict, a heroin addict. What he’s offering you is a solution he’s saying well, it seems to me she’s in a crack house and has decided that is her bubble in the world and both himself and his mate have seen that multiple times. And he saw it with his own daughter. Better that than if she’s dead.
Andrea: Yeah. I see that point obviously, better that than dead, but don't want it to take…. take over just to become, oh…. that's, what's happened because that's Wayne's world, isn't it? And he's had that experience and that's his daughter, and so straight away, he just thinks, oh, that happened to my daughter, that must have happened to her. I know it is a big possibility. We've always…. that's always been one of the things. So it could be, but I don't want to sort of…. just to forget about. There are lots of other things as well, that could of… so we just forget about them and leave them along the side because, because Wayne's been in that, you know, he's in that life and that world and his daughter. So that must…. that’s what happened to Georgina.
Donal: What did you think of about the scenario, Petra?
Petra: I actually, you know, I've always thought that there is a strong possibility that she got slowly pulled into that sort of world. I…. I…. because…. because of her vulnerability, actually, mainly, and because, you know, especially with anxiety, you know, drugs can make you more confident. They can, there is no doubt about that, depending on what you take, but most of them can do that.
Donal: Dave and him, would have seen girls go through this cycle and then just abandon everything in their lives, including children.
Petra: Look, there is one other thing to consider on that. It isn't just that if she was wrapped up in the crack, you know, it's just chasing the drugs, that's the biggest part. But there will always also be a very small part of absolute shame involved in that especially with regarding family. Always I've seen it when I worked in drugs and alcohol, I've seen it privately. The shame is quite overriding then to the even if you want to return, and that exacerbates your involvement in the drug world, because the shame overides, even if you wanted to come back, you know, it kind of pushes you further into it because it's like, um, I'm in it, you know what I mean? The guilt, the shame.
Donal: In any case, even if it doesn't deliver any fruit for us, for the investigation, it just is another thing we can tick off and say, we've gone the extra mile, you know what I mean? This is just one line of inquiry, it's what they call a hail Mary pass, the last-ditch saloon here, but still, we've got a couple of other, you know, hail Mary passes out there.
Petra: Are you still hoping to set up shop somewhere?
Donal: Yes, I'm hoping...
Petra: Because I'm just looking at some and I just found something which is, incidentally, very close to, um… um… Clifton Road…
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Starts with background music
Donal: If you have any information regarding the Georgina Gharsallah case no matter how insignificant you may think it is please contact Sussex Police on 101 or in confidence via Crimestoppers who are offering a 10,000-pound reward.
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Donal: ‘Murdered, Missing Unsolved’ is presented by me Donal MacIntyre and produced by Inherent Productions and Steve Langridge, music is by Alex Sayne and additional audio production by John Franklin Audio.
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