Northern Ireland

Belfast resident tells of seeing Noah Donohoe before he vanished

Noah Donohoe
Noah Donohoe

THE last person to see Noah Donohoe before he went missing has told how she wept when she heard a body had been found.

Linda Patterson told how she saw the teenager riding his bicycle while naked past her home in north Belfast.

She called her husband and by the time they looked again, the schoolboy was gone and only his bike was seen lying in the street.

A CCTV camera at her home on Northwood Road captured the last known footage of the 14-year-old St Malachy's College pupil.

Noah had cycled to a cul-de-sac on the residential street where it is believed he walked behind some of the houses and entered a storm drain.

He is thought to have discarded his clothing earlier after falling off his bike and sustaining a head injury, leaving him disoriented.

His body was found further along the storm drain on Saturday, almost a week after he went missing.

The tragedy has been described by a senior PSNI officer as one of the most unusual missing-person cases in his 30-year career.

Mrs Patterson said she was in her living room watching television on Sunday June 21 when she saw someone cycle past her front window.

"I was sitting in the living room. Quite a few people saw him, but they just saw him from the waist up and didn't think anything of it."

Ms Patterson said they looked out again, but this time only saw the black Apollo mountain bike on the ground.

"It was so quick. It was just a flash going past. By the time I got out to look he was gone," she said.

Ms Patterson, who later helped in volunteer searches for the teenager, said he didn't appear to be in distress.

She said her husband found the footage on their CCTV camera and gave it to police.

The mother of two grown-up daughters expressed her sadness and sympathies with Noah's family.

She said she cried upon hearing a body had been found, asking herself "what if" that Sunday had turned out differently.

"It's a child. We thought it was somebody joking about. That's why I feel guilty, saying, 'What if?'"