Northern Ireland news

Man (50) arrested on suspicion of murder in Jonathan Cairns case

Jonathan Cairns who was attacked and beaten to death as he made his way home from a night out 20 years ago in Derry. 

A 50-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder of Jonathan Cairns more than 20 years ago.

He remains in custody.

The body of Jonathan Cairns, 18, was found in a shallow grave in Loughermore Forest. He was attacked as he made his way home from a night out in the early hours of 25th April 1999.

No-one has ever been convicted of the teenager’s murder although a 49-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison in 2002 for perverting the course of justice.

Two women aged 72 and 46-years-old were arrested in Derry last month. They were released on police bail pending further enquires.

Since last December police have arrested seven people in the murder investigation

In April, Mr Cairn's father marked the 20th anniversary of his son's murder by making an emotional appeal for information. Raymond Cairns said his family has spent 20 years living without their "lovely son" and living without answers or justice.



"Jonathan was 18 when he died. He should now be 38, maybe with kids of his own. We think about him every day. He was always smiling, always happy.

"The people who did this took our son away from us and we don’t know why. All of his family loved him and miss him so much. To anyone who has information, it's never too late to come forward. Please tell us what you know," Mr Cairns said.

More than 20 searches have been carried out in the last 20 years. Police have identified more than 2,500 witnesses in the case and taken almost 900 statements.

Police believe Mr Cairn's killers were local to the area and may even have known their victim. 

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Northern Ireland news