Northern Ireland

Lorraine McCausland: Fresh appeal over murder of woman in 1987

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Media captionCathy McIllvenny spoke about the murder of her sister at a press conference on Wednesday

Police have re-opened an investigation into the murder of a woman in north Belfast almost 30 years ago.

The body of Lorraine McCausland, a mother-of-two, was found beside a stream in Forthriver on 8 March 1987.

The 23-year-old had been for a night out and was last seen in a loyalist club at Tyndale.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Lorraine McCausland's body was found beside a stream in Forthriver on 8 March 1987

Police believe she was raped in the club before she was "savagely beaten" and her body dumped.

'Profound effect'

Det Insp Michelle Griffin said: "The investigation is being re-opened because, having reviewed the case, police believe there are potential new lines of enquiry.

Family hopeful police will secure convictions

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Police want to speak to anyone who was in the club in Tyndale on the evening of Saturday 7 and into the early hours of Sunday 8 March 1987

"This was a merciless beating of a vulnerable young woman. It has had a profound effect on her family.

"It would also have had a lasting impact on the people who witnessed these events 29 years ago.

"The people involved in this attack are still at large."

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Image caption Police will distribute leaflets in the area to the highlight the reinvestigation

Police said they would be distributing leaflets in the area to highlight the reinvestigation and appealed for people to come forward with information.

"I am appealing to anyone who was in the club on the night of Saturday 7 and the early hours of Sunday 8 March 1987.

"It's a long time ago but I'm sure everyone who was there still carries those memories. They will probably never leave them."

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Det Insp Griffin said Lorraine was a "popular member" of the local community

Det Insp Griffin said Lorraine was a "popular member" of the local community.

'Kindness'

"She had worked as a stitcher and then in her sister's mobile shop," she said.

"Everybody in the area knew Lorraine and liked her for her personality and kindness."

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Police said the 'shadow of loyalist paramilitarism hangs over this case' due to where Lorraine McCausland was last seen

The officer said some people had been "reluctant to assist" the police investigation.

"The shadow of loyalist paramilitarism hangs over this case. I believe people have been reluctant to tell the truth about that night, what they saw and heard, what they know, because they are frightened.

'Secure justice'

"I understand their fear but I believe there are ways of dealing with this and providing a mechanism to enable people to come forward and tell us what they know about the events of that night so that we can get justice for Lorraine and her family."

Image caption Lorraine McCausland's son, Craig, was killed by loyalists 18 years after his mother's murder

Police said 14 people were arrested during the original investigation but no-one was charged.

Detectives conducted 29 searches and took more than 100 witness statements.

Lorraine McCausland's son, who was aged just two, when she was killed, was murdered 18 years later in July 2005.

Craig McCausland died after being shot in Dhu Varren Park in north Belfast and the killing was blamed on tensions within loyalism by police.

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