Local historical murder enquiries have come into focus following the screening of a programme on ‘The Disappeared’ earlier this month.
The issue was initially raised by East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs, who drew comparisons between the cases outlined in the BBC documentary and that of missing Carrick man Mark Gourley.
Mr Gourley, 36, was first reported missing in March 2009; however, in September of this year the case was re-launched as a murder enquiry.
Further to Mr Beggs’ comments, Carrick’s Policing and Community Safety chair Cllr Andrew Wilson indicated that historical murder investigations remain high on the organisation’s agenda.
“The partnership have tried to facilitate increased reporting of crime and it is very much on our agenda moving forward,” he said.
“We try to help with the process of encouraging communities to build relationships and trust with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
“To this end, I would appeal to anyone who has any information on any of the unsolved murders – Mark Gourley, Simon Tang, Charlie Strain, Hugh Cameron and Tommy Hollran; to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with the knowledge that your call cannot be traced or recorded.”
Speaking earlier this month, Mr Beggs said: “Anyone who has watched the programme on ‘The Disappeared’ cannot fail to have been moved and upset by the dreadful callousness of the republican terrorists who carried out these acts.”
“However it strikes me that these issues are not just historical horrors from the past. Closer to home, in Carrickfergus, the police announced less than two months ago that they had launched a murder enquiry into the disappearance of Mark Gourley who has not been seen since March 2009.
“This has all the hallmarks of what we saw in the BBC programme; a macabre re-creation of an old practice perfected by the IRA, but seemingly copied by some loyalist paramilitaries.”
The UUP representative went on to reiterate comments made in September in relation to the Gourley investigation: “‘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 vile cause of their death.”
Meanwhile, Police confirmed that the investigation into Mr Gourley’s disappearance was still ongoing.
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