'Disappeared' remains removed

Wed, Nov 3, 2010, 00:00

The human remains, thought to be those of IRA victim Peter Wilson, have been removed from Waterfoot breach in the Glens of Antrim after a short prayer ceremony.

The body was discovered buried on the 250-metre strand yesterday by specialists working for the commission tasked with finding the remains of those secretly abducted, killed and buried by republicans during the Troubles.

Peter Wilson (21), an unemployed west Belfast man with learning difficulties, had been described by his surviving brother and sisters as "vulnerable" at the time of his disappearance in 1973.

The remains, which had been kept under the cover of a tent at the search site, were placed in a coffin and removed from the beach by hearse at about 2pm today.

Around two dozen people from the local community in Glenariff joined members of the Wilson family in a small carpark beside the scene during the removal.

A prayer vigil had been held yesterday evening, just hours after the discovery of the body.

The Wilson family used to spend their holidays at Waterfoot in the years following the abduction and killing unaware that Peter's body could have been secretly buried in the locality.

Of the 16 so-called Disappeared, the bodies of seven have been uncovered and formally identified.

The identification of an eighth is awaited by the family of Gerry Evans from Co Armagh. He disappeared in 1979.

Forensic specialist Geoff Knupfer, who heads of the search team, has said he is pleased the remains have been discovered so quickly after the commencement of the excavation of the site.

Searchers were working on a tip-off which was reliable, he said last week. However the dig could have taken several weeks.

The body has been taken to Belfast where a post morten and identification processes will be carried out. This could take several weeks.