Sarah Fenton: Missing Person Since April 2012


Sarah Fenton (39) was last seen at 16:30 on Sunday 1st April 2012, on a Condor Ferry travelling from Guernsey to Poole. Her body has never been found, and there has been so sign of her since.


Sarah lived with her husband Andrew at Fishponds in Bristol.


Summary

The ferry left Jersey at 2.30pm before travelling to Guernsey, and departed for Poole, Dorset, at 16:15.


Sarah's husband Andrew raised the alarm at 16:30* and it was feared Sarah may have gone overboard.


(*The Dorset Police statement listed 16:30, however an article stated 17:30.)


The Search


Sarah's disappearance sparked a major sea search involving the coastguard helicopter, RNLI lifeboats from Weymouth and Alderney and the air search aircraft from the island. A spokesman for Condor Ferries said:


'Crew were made aware of a possible missing person situation onboard Condor Rapide. The captain raised a Pan-Pan with the Coastguard and a full search was conducted of the vessel. The passenger was not located and the Pan-Pan was upgraded to a Mayday. At 7.43pm Portland Coastguard permitted Condor Rapide to leave the search and continue on to Poole. The search was ended by Portland Coastguard at 10pm.'


A French lifeboat from Normandy and military helicopter from Cherbourg also took part in the search, while the Condor Rapide and several small boats and fishing vessels were also engaged in the search. Though nothing was found.



 

The Theories


The main and most accepted theory is that Sarah Fenton fell overboard. If the Ferry left for Poole at 16:15 and her husband Andrew last saw her at 16:30, then she likely went overboard in the sea close to Guernsey. The English Channel could rather quickly have swept her body away, and it could have ended up in one of many locations.


As there is no public information about Sarah and her family, career, or relationships, it's very difficult to develop any other theory around this case. However, there are some questions I have ...

  • When was the alarm actually raised? In reports it's stated that Andrew last saw Sarah at 16:30 (15 mins after the ferry had left for Poole) but I can't find anywhere when the alarm was raised to staff on board, or what time the May Day call was made.

  • How many people on board were spoken to by Police? Were any other Passengers on the top deck?

  • Were there any CCTV cameras on board or at the Ferry Terminal and was the footage viewed to confirm Sarah's presence.

  • When was Sarah last seen by someone other than her husband?

  • What's the layout of the top deck? How close to the edge can you get? And woud it be possible to fall over the railings. (I've included photos below which I do not own, but which I think depicts the layout of the top of the boat.)



 

In the Years since Sarah's dissapearance...


In a Dorset Police Statement issued in 2015, Sarah's family said:

“It has been three years since Sarah disappeared and we all miss her greatly. If anyone has any information about what happened that afternoon or Sarah’s whereabouts, please call Dorset Police.”

The family also made a direct appeal to Sarah. “We miss you so much and just want to know you are ok. Please contact us or the charity Missing People at any time.”


Detective Constable Rachel Skinner, of Dorset Police, said:


“I am appealing to anyone who may have been on the Condor Rapide on Sunday 1 April 2012 and did not speak to police at the time, to please make contact. All calls will be treated in strict confidence.”


 

Anyone with information about Sarah’s disappearance should call Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 1:437


Sources and Extra Info:


Dorset Police Statement

Article 1 (3rd April 2021)

Condor Ferries

Drone footage of Condor's current Rapide Ferry (I don't have confirmation this is the same vessel.)