Body found in 'Disappeared' search

 

A search for the body of a man believed murdered by republican paramilitaries in Northern Ireland has discovered human remains, investigators said today.

Archaeologists and other experts are carrying out an examination in the seaside village of Waterfoot in the Glens of Antrim for Peter Wilson (21).

The unemployed Catholic man, who had learning disabilities, left his home in the Beechmount area of west Belfast in August 1973 and was never seen again.

A spokesman for the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains said: “The ICLVR in its search for the body of Peter Wilson has found human remains at a site in Waterfoot in County Antrim.

“The recovery is ongoing and the formal identification process will take some time. The family of Mr Wilson and the Police Service of Northern Ireland have been informed.”

Mr Wilson’s family believes the IRA was responsible for the murder, although the organisation’s leadership has never officially admitted the killing. The new search by the commission was triggered by a tip-off understood to have come from within the republican movement.

The commission has so far found eight bodies at rural sites in the Republic and is still actively looking for eight more. The latest excavation is the first search undertaken in Northern Ireland and the first in a populated area.

Patricia Gearon, sister of Mr Wilson, carried a wreath today in a silent walk at Stormont for the Disappeared.

Other victims’ families attending included Kathleen Armstrong, who carried a black wreath with white lilies symbolising those who have not been found. This year she removed one of the lilies following the recovery of the body of her husband Charlie in July.

Fifteen men and one woman disappeared during the Troubles and their families fear they were killed by republicans.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said: “The reports that remains have been found at Waterfoot, County Antrim, where the commission have been searching for St James man Peter Wilson is welcome news.

"My thoughts are with the Wilson family at this time and I would hope that confirmation would be speedy to ease the burden of the final wait the family will endure.

"I again would repeat my appeal that anyone with any information which might help other families locate remains and find closure should bring that information forward," Mr Adams said.

PA