The murder of Carrickfergus man Mark Gourley should serve as a warning to young people to avoid paramilitarism.
That was the message from East Antrim UUP MLA Roy Beggs as he appealed for members of the community with information about the ‘disappeared’ Carrick resident to come forward.
Last week police launched a murder enquiry based on new evidence about the disappearance of Mr Gourley four and a half years ago.
Mr Beggs said: “First of all for the sake of his family, I would urge anyone who has any information about what happened to Mark Gourley to tell the police immediately.
“‘The disappeared’ is a term which has been most associated with the IRA over the years, but it seems that in this case so-called loyalist paramilitaries have copied their republican counterparts’ old habits. We must remember that the term ‘disappeared’ is a euphemism for someone who has been kidnapped, murdered and their body disposed of to conceal the cause of their death.”
The PSNI believes that people in the community have knowledge of what happened to the 36-year-old, who was described as vulnerable and was on medication
Previous appeals for information did generate reports of sightings, police say however, the last definitive one of Mark was at 2.30pm on March 7 2009 in the Burney’s Lane area of Glengormley. He did not have a mobile phone or a significant amount of money with him when he disappeared. While he was last seen in the Glengormley area, he was from Castlemara and he may have returned there on that same date.
Mr Beggs added:“This horrible situation is a reminder that unfortunately, paramilitary groups have still not disappeared. The sad fate of Mark Gourley should act as a warning to young people to stay away from, and not to associate themselves with paramilitary gangs of any type or persuasion.”
Police are asking anyone who may have noticed vehicles or individuals acting suspiciously in Burney’s Lane or Castlemara on March 7 2009 to contact 02890 259 542
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