Bernadette Hughes was born in Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan. She moved to London in her early twenties, met a man called James Minnion whom she married and had two children with. The marriage broke down after a number of years and Bernadette and her husband shared custody of the couple’s two children. Some time later Bernadette met and married Brian Cooper and they had one son, Steven. Brian has a Chemistry degree but was working in the Post Office at this time.
Bernadette and Brian fancied a life in the sun and decided to move to Spain with their son. They settled in Benalmadena and bought the lease for a pub that was called Molly Malone’s and was situated in Avenida Antonio Machado. The premises at that location now trades as “Wheel Tapas”. Molly Malone’s did well for two or three years but when the recession hit in the early 1990s the business tapered off and it was not long until Bernadette and Brian found themselves in a difficult financial position with the bar. The couple also found their marriage floundering.
Brian left Spain and returned to the family home in Mitcham, Surrey around 1991 and on his return, he started divorce proceedings. The following year Bernadette temporarily closed Molly Malone’s and returned to Surrey with her son in an effort to raise the money required to continue trading at the bar. In January 1993 she called a friend in Spain saying that she had raised the money. She asked this friend to tell the Spanish solicitor that she was dealing with NOT to sell the lease for the bar as she was returning to Spain and wanted to make a go of the business.
That phone call was made from the Horse and Groom pub in Tooting Broadway and it is the last contact that Bernadette has had with anyone in Ireland, Britain or Spain.
Leon Moore is Bernadette’s nephew and he has been breathing new life into the search for his aunt. He spoke to Ger Sweeney recently on Ger’s Irish radio programme, Live on Eire, on Spain-based radio station, Talk Radio Europe in the hops of jogging memories of Bernadette.