Two arrested in Pat McCormick murder investigation

Body of 55-year-old found in a Co Down lake following anonymous tip off

Handout file photo issued by the Police Service of Northern Ireland of William McCormick. Photograph: PSNI/PA Wire

Handout file photo issued by the Police Service of Northern Ireland of William McCormick. Photograph: PSNI/PA Wire

 

A man and woman have been arrested for the second time by police investigating the murder of a father of four in Co Down.

The arrests come two days after police divers found William (Pat) McCormick’s body in a lake.

The 55-year-old was last seen alive in the Comber area on May 30.

The 26-year-old man and 21-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of murder on Thursday morning in the Comber area.

They are currently being questioned by detectives in Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.

The man and woman were previously arrested on June 3rd and were released on bail pending further inquiries.

Mr McCormick’s body was found in a lake in the Ballygowan area on Tuesday afternoon, detectives said on Wednesday.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland had launched a murder inquiry following Mr McCormick’s disappearance.

An anonymous tip led them to conduct searches in several lakes in the Ballygowan area over three days prior to the discovery.

Detectives believe Mr McCormick was killed in or around the vicinity of flats in Castle Street, Comber.

On Wednesday detective chief inspector Pete Montgomery, who is leading the investigation, encouraged the person who provided the information to come forward to speak to him directly — though he said he would respect their decision if they chose not to.

“First and foremost, my thoughts are with Pat’s family as they come to terms with this,” he added.

Mr McCormick’s wife Alison issued a statement of thanks through the PSNI.

“I would like to thank the Comber community for all their help and information that they have given police to help recover Pat,” she said.

“Myself and his four children are truly thankful.”

Mr McCormick’s brother Harry also thanked the public for their support.

“The last six weeks have been devastating for his parents, brothers, wife and beautiful four children, however, we are grateful to now have Pat home for our final goodbyes and burial,” he said in a statement.

“A massive thank you to everyone for their support and prayers, especially the public of Comber. As a family in mourning we would now ask for privacy.

“We know the PSNI are doing everything they can for us and Pat to get justice.”

Police have conducted 38 searches to date and spoken to 235 witnesses.

A number of other people have been arrested during the course of the investigation, all of whom were subsequently released on bail pending further inquiries.

Mr Montgomery said: “While finding Pat’s body brings to an end some of the distress caused to his family, they now want to see those responsible brought to justice.”

The detective said officers were keen to trace the movements of a blue Transit van, reg JLZ 1672, with distinctive silver wings at the front, during the days when Mr McCormick disappeared.

The charity Crimestoppers had been offering a €10,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Mr McCormick’s body. – PA