Heartbroken mum of missing fisherman, 34, ‘not ready to say goodbye’ amid search

The heartbroken mum of a missing fisherman said she is “not ready to say goodbye” to her son.

Julie McGrath, of Conwy, North Wales, said the prospect of perhaps never knowing what happened to Carl McGrath is “killing” her.

The 34-year-old disappeared along with his crew Steve Minard and Ross Ballantine on board the Nicola Faith last Wednesday (January 27), but despite a huge search effort no trace has yet been found.

Having lost her eldest son Anthony 10 years ago, mum-of-three, including daughter Lauren, Julie said she “can’t believe this is happening” to her and her family, reports North Wales Live.

Julie admitted she and Carl didn’t have the “perfect relationship,” but said he was her “pride and joy”.

Anthony, meanwhile, passed away at 26 and his mum says while she learned to cope, she has never got over his death.

“To then hear about Carl, the pain is unbearable, I can’t believe this is happening, why me? Why my boys?” she said during an emotional interview.

Losing Anthony had made her “more over protective” of her other children because she was “so scared of losing them”.

Speaking about Carl, she continued: “Whenever I saw him on his boat, which he spent two years doing up, it was fantastic to see the joy on his face over something he’d achieved.

“It made me feel so proud, he got his life back on track, even with all the hurt from losing his brother.”

Julie was at daughter Julie’s house for her 26th birthday when she was told Carl’s boat had not come in at its due time of midnight.

“I went into hysterics, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” she explained.

“I went down to the boat house first thing the next morning and we started searching around the Orme.

“The support was unreal, watching rescue crews go out and to see even strangers were looking was amazing, I couldn’t believe it.”

Julie also praised the RNLI, coastguard and rescue teams who have worked tirelessly to find Carl and his crew – “I thank them with what heart I have left,” she said.

“But every day is agony waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for news. It’s not just us, it’s the families of the other two men who going through this too.

“I’m just sat here with everything going through my head wondering if I am going to get my boy back, if I am going to lay him to rest?

“I don’t know how to deal with it, the pain is so unbearable, I can’t describe it, it’s killing me.”

Julie said since his disappearance people have been telling her how Carl, from Llandudno Junction, is “one of the best fishermen” around.

Nicknamed ‘Grafter’, the missing seaman had previously worked as a chef and a builder.

“I saw him and the two other crew members the day before they went missing, I really hope that deep down, he knows I love him,” his mum added.