Ahearn: 'disappears' people

A New York privacy consultant who specialises in 'disappearing people' fleeing criminal threats and violent partners has identified Ireland as one of the best countries to start a new life.

Frank M Ahearn is a former 'skip tracer', who was employed by com­panies, private investigators and individuals to find people who have fled their homes leaving behind debts, unpaid employees or angry partners.

"I used to be a skip tracer but now my partner handles that while I help people to disappear. It's just doing what I used to do in reverse. I help people disappear without a trace," he said.

"Women generally want to disappear for emotional reasons. Often from a particularly dangerous ex-boyfriend or husband who they believe will try to kill them. For men, it's generally financial reasons that make them disappear."

Ahearn is adamant that his company is very careful not to facilitate criminals in starting a new life away from crime.

"We obviously are very careful to make sure we're not helping criminals. I don't want to get arrested myself. We've had people who've either won a lot of money or come into a significant inheritance and they want to get away from everyone coming out of the woodwork looking for their cash. For some of the serious stalking cases, if a woman doesn't have a lot of money, I'll do it for free. But for some of the complicated cases where a lot of work is involved, we can charge people up to $20,000 [€15,000]."

Ahearn recently helped two people disappear in Ireland and helped a young former drug addict disappear from Dublin.

"He's in Paris now. He owed some pretty dangerous guys a lot of money and we helped him get away from that situation. He had turned his life around," he added.

Ahearn helped a woman living in the UK recently escape a violent partner by disappearing her to Ireland. He also managed to trick the man into believing his ex was living at a different address in Dublin.

He correctly predicted this violent criminal would break into the Dublin apartment. A private investigator keeping watch called gardaí and the former football hooligan was arrested and jailed.

"Ireland and Dublin particularly is a great place to disappear. I always recommend it. It's a real melting pot of cultures so it's easy to blend in. It's not too difficult for people to acclimatise and it's not too expensive. Also, it's quite a safe place on the scale of things. We can't guarantee anything. But no one I've helped disappear has ever been found."