The sleuth army on the trail of a family ghost – The Times



Pip O’Neill’s grandmother disappeared after walking out on her husband and seven children in 1960. Now amateur detectives are assisting in the search

Patricia O’Neill vanished in 1960. Her granddaughter, Pip, wonders if she had postnatal depression

Rosie Kinchen

The Sunday Times

Sometimes a story captures the imagination and it’s hard to know exactly why. Two weeks ago, Pip O’Neill, 28, posted a thread on Twitter about her maternal grandmother — who disappeared 60 years ago. It was a family tragedy that had been brushed under carpets for decades until she decided to yank it into the light.

The outline of the story goes like this: one morning in 1960, Patricia O’Neill (née Jones), sometimes known as Patsy, a good Irish Catholic wife and mother, woke up in her home in West Sussex, walked out on her husband and seven children — the youngest of whom was eight months old — and was never heard from again.

Perhaps it was the photograph Pip posted, of a beautiful