Northern Ireland news

Lisa Dorrian: New searches in Ballyhalbert lakes

 Lisa Dorrian's sister at the scene of today's searches. Picture by Hugh Russell
Maeve Connolly

Searches for the remains of Lisa Dorrian are being carried out in Ballyhalbert, Co Down, today.

Divers are searching a number of lakes at the Clay Pitts close to Ballyhalbert Caravan Park where Lisa was last seen alive on February 27 2005

Loyalist paramilitary involvement is suspected in the disappearance of the 25-year-old from Bangor in Co Down who police believe was murdered.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said parts of the original investigation are being reviewed along with "previous searches in the area". There have been 400 searches across the north to date.

"These searches are an extension of us adopting new thinking around the circumstances of Lisa’s murder.  While this area was previously considered and work conducted to examine it, our investigative thinking and knowledge has developed over time. It is important to the police service and Lisa’s family that we have clarity and, with the development of search techniques and technology, I intend to gain reassurance that the examination of the lakes has been conducted to the necessary extent and to modern day standards."

Lisa Dorrian disappeared after a party at a caravan site in Ballyhalbert, Co Down, on February 27 2005

DS Murphy said he did not believe Lisa’s murder was pre-planned "and I am of the view that the deposition of her body was equally unplanned".

"I have repeatedly said that I believe the answers to her murder remain local to Ballyhalbert and I remain convinced that a small number of people hold the key to Lisa’s disappearance. I continue to appeal for those with direct knowledge of Lisa’s whereabouts to find a way to get that information to me, anonymously or via a third party if necessary," the senior officer added.

DS Murphy said police were committed to bringing those responsible to justice.

“Sixteen years have now passed, but our resolve has not diminished. It is important that we bring the Dorrian family the answers that any grieving family deserves.  While we want to recover Lisa’s body and allow the Dorrian family to finally lay Lisa to rest we remain determined to bring those who killed her to justice and are also looking for evidence relating to her disappearance."

Anyone with information can contact detectives on 101 or the charity Crimestoppers who they can speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The scene of today's searches. Picture by Hugh Russell

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