THE boyfriend of missing woman Fiona Pender, who was questioned in connection with her disappearance, will not face criminal charges after allegedly sending a "threatening" letter to a Dublin property firm.
Last summer, the Sunday Tribune revealed that gardaí in Co Offaly had sent a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) after a complaint was made that John Thompson had claimed in a letter that he was a dangerous man and suggested he had committed crimes in the past.
The letter and an email were sent in late 2007 by Thompson after a dispute arose over a property that he had planned to buy from the company. He allegedly wrote that if the company wanted to learn more about his past then they should "google Fiona Pender's name" or contact gardaí in Tullamore.
The DPP has directed in recent weeks that Thompson should not face charges in relation to the threatening correspondence he sent, this newspaper has learned.
The investigation into Fiona Pender's disappearance – and suspected murder – in August 1996 is ongoing.
The tone of the correspondence from Thompson was of such concern that the company immediately passed it on to gardaí in late 2007. "The letter was seen as threatening. The words used remain a cause for concern. We are investigating all aspects of the letter," a senior garda source said at the time.
Although Thompson was detained for questioning about the 25-year-old's disappearance, he has never been charged with any crime.
Fiona Pender, a part-time model and hairdresser, was seven months' pregnant with Thompson's child when she vanished from her home in Tullamore, Co Offaly, in August 1996.
There have been several tips over the years concerning the whereabouts of her body but her remains have never been found.
The latest occurrence was last May when a cross with Pender's name was discovered in a picnic area near the Slieve Bloom Mountains in Co Laois.
Pender's mother Josephine (58) said at the time that she planned to visit the site where the cross was found believing it may have been left by somebody with information who felt guilty over not coming forward.
While upset by the events, she said she hoped the discovery of the cross and publicity surrounding the case could yield positive results.
The Pender family has been hit by a string of tragedies in recent years.
Fiona's younger brother Mark was killed in a road accident in 1995, the year before she disappeared, and in 2000 her father Seán took his own life.