Northern Ireland news

Appeal for information on anniversary of the murder of Antrim schoolboy Darren Fawns

Schoolboy Darren Fawns (13) whose body was found in Co Antrim 25 years ago, no one has been charged with his murder.

The father of an Antrim teenager, murdered 25 years ago in a "frenzied attack", has said the family still lives in hope that someone will be charged with his son's death.

The body of 13-year-old Darren Fawns was found in undergrowth close to Massereene Golf Club on August 3 1995. He was partially clothed and a sexual motive was not ruled out.

Three people were arrested and questioned by police, but no one has ever been convicted of the schoolboy's murder.

Alan Fawns said his son "is still in our minds all the time."

From the Town Parks estate in Antrim, the teenager had gone out shopping with parents in the town centre on a Friday night, July 28, 1995.

A pupil of Parkhall High School he went off on his own and was due to meet his parents to share a taxi home, but did not appear.

An appeal at the time placed him in an amusement arcade, the last official sighting of the teenager.

His body was found six days later by a Belgian tourist.

He had suffered serious head injuries in what a detective later described as a "frenzied attack" and due to his state of undress a forensic pathologist said he could not rule out a sexual motive.

Detectives made an appeal on the BBC's Crimewatch programme, which featured a reconstruction of Darren in the amusement arcade on the night he went missing.

A reward was also offered for information.

Alan Fawns said the family hadn't stopped hoping that someone would be charged with his son's murder.

"We are hoping that they will catch someone, but we have been hoping for 25 years," Mr Fawns told the BBC.

"I am not saying that hope fades, but it is hard to think that anyone will be caught now."

Police said that in spite of the nature of the teenager's injuries, there was a lack of DNA evidence at the scene and it appeared as if Darren may have been killed elsewhere before his body was moved to the area.

The schoolboy's murder is one of more than 1,400 deaths currently waiting to be reviewed by the Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB) of the PSNI.

Head of the LIB, Detective Chief Superintendent Bobby Singleton, said: "Regrettably, due to the nature and volume of LIB caseloads, we are unable to give any undertaking as to precisely when this review will commence however I can assure the community the case remains open."

Mr Singleton added: "We remain committed to bringing to justice those responsible for Darren's murder and we stand ready to explore any new information and where credible investigative lines of enquiry are identified, we will follow them.

"On the 25th anniversary of the murder I would appeal to anyone in the community with any information about Darren's death to please examine their conscience, come forward and tell us what they know".

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