Northern Ireland

Pat McCormick: Body found in murder inquiry

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Media captionPolice confirmed the body was Pat McCormick's at a press conference

Detectives investigating the murder of Pat McCormick have found his body in Ballygowan in County Down.

The 55-year-old father of four was last seen on Castle Street in Comber in County Down at about 22:30 BST on 30 May, driving his black car.

Searches for Mr McCormick, who is from nearby Saintfield, have been taking place around the Ards peninsula.

At a press conference, Det Ch Insp Pete Montgomery confirmed the body was that of Mr McCormick.

Mr Montgomery said that at 14:20 BST on Tuesday, police recovered Mr McCormick's body in a lake in the Ballygowan area, following a planned search.

He said his thoughts were with Mr McCormick's family.

"As a result of information received, I conducted a number of searches in lakes over three days and subsequently recovered Pat's body," he added.

"If that information came as a result of someone calling Crimestoppers, I would like to thank that person and ask them if they want to speak to me directly.

"If not, I will respect your position."

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Pat McCormick, who is originally from Saintfield, had been missing since 30 May

Mr Montgomery renewed his appeal for information about Mr McCormick's murder and said how he was killed and the motive form part of his investigation.

He said he was keen to trace the movements of a blue Ford Transit van, registration number JLZ 1672, with distinctive silver wings at the front.

He said on Thursday 30 May at approximately 23:30 the van was seen heading country bound on the Killinchy Road.

The same vehicle was in Comber on Friday 31 May in the car park at the back of Supervalu at about 08:15. Mr Montgomery said the van was seen leaving at 10:15 and heading country bound on the Killinchy Road in the direction of Lisbane.

The vehicle was also seen on the Old Ballygowan Road later on Friday 31 May heading in a country bound direction.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Police are keen to trace the movements of a blue Ford Transit van registration JLZ 1672

Mr Montgomery said Mr McCormick's phone "remained outstanding", an iPhone SE with a distinctive black and red cover.

He said he had conducted 38 searches to date and spoken to 235 witnesses.

Mr Montgomery also read out a statement from Mr McCormick's brother Harry on behalf of the family.

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

Mr Montgomery said Mr McCormick's wife, Alison, thanked the Comber community for "all their help and information that they have given police to help recover Pat" .

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption CCTV footage released by police shows Pat McCormick before he disappeared

A post-mortem examination is taking place to establish how Mr McCormick died.

Police previously said thousands of hours of CCTV footage had been gathered as part of the investigation.

A number of people have been arrested in relation to Mr McCormick's murder, but no-one has been charged.

Six people remain on police bail.

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