Noah Donohoe's final moments still need explanation

More than four weeks after 14-year-old Noah Donohoe went missing in north Belfast, it is alarming that so many aspects of his death remain unexplained.

Noah's body was found in a storm drain in the Shore Road area of the city on June 27, six days after he disappeared while cycling in the area, and police said at the time they did not believe foul play was involved.

However, suggestions that the St Malachy's College student sustained concussion after reportedly falling from his bike, causing him to remove his clothes and suddenly enter the storm drain, were always difficult to understand.

As The Irish News revealed last Friday, a post mortem found that Noah drowned but his family has not been able to confirm that the teenager suffered a head injury prior to his death.

Relatives were informed that a leaflet drop had been carried out by police in the district where he was last seen but it subsequently emerged that, while such an initiative was planned, it had not yet taken place.

There will be considerable surprise that such a basic part of the investigation had not been completed fully three weeks after his body was recovered, and we have yet to be told how a backpack containing his laptop was passed to police.

The request from his family to view CCTV footage which apparently shows Noah cycling naked a short time before he entered the drain is also an entirely reasonable one.

It will further be noted that police initially said they did not know why Noah had gone to north Belfast, leaving it to relatives to make it clear that he was on his way to meet friends in Cavehill country park as part of a Duke of Edinburgh project.

Anyone with the slightest piece of evidence about Noah's movements should make sure that it is forwarded to police, and his family has said that the offices of the Relatives For Justice group are also readily available.

There will be growing and justified concern over the uncertainty about the final moments of an intelligent and popular teenager who was died in what can only be described as highly unusual circumstances.

The public is entitled to expect that the missing elements of the tragic story of Noah Donohoe can be clarified, and the requests made by his grieving family addressed, as soon as possible.