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Tributes are paid as police find body in search for missing man William Davey

By Allan Preston

Published 05/11/2015

Disappeared: William Davey
Disappeared: William Davey

A family has been left devastated after police searching for a missing man found a body yesterday.

William Davey (21) was last seen out at a Halloween party in Larne in the early hours of Sunday but never made it home.

Police investigating his disappearance confirmed that on Tuesday night they found the body of a male in the Exchange road area of the Co Antrim port town.

It is understood that a formal identification and post mortem are to take place this morning, but the death is not being treated as suspicious.

Yesterday morning the kitchen and fuel supply business he worked for, Torbitts, paid tribute to an employee they described as "a great worker, friend, and breath of fresh air that can never be replaced."

"With heavy hearts we are sad to learn of the death of our beloved employee and friend William Davey. No words can express how sad we feel about this tragic loss," the company said.

His concerned colleagues had tried to help find William, urging people in the area to "get this lovely young gentleman home safe and well".

William was last seen on his way out to a local pub in the Lower Cross Street area of Larne on Saturday wearing a skeleton Halloween costume. He was seen again later in the Upper Main Street area at about 1.30am on Sunday.

The staff at Torbitts added: "From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all who shared the post in a desperate attempt to find him and bring him home to his loving family.

"At this time we ask that you pray for his family to give them the strength to cope with this awful news."

Responding to the announcement, hundreds of mourners conveyed their sympathies to William's family on social media.

William was a former pupil of Larne High School, and one of his former teachers there, Diana MacDougall, wrote on Facebook: "He was much loved. Thoughts are with you all, family, friends and colleagues xx."

Torbitts customer Patricia Kirby said: "He always had a smile when I went into the shop and was obviously very happy in his work. Thoughts with you all and his bereaved family."

One friend called it "terrible, terrible news," describing William as "such a lovely guy who will be sorely missed".

Another remembered him as "a lovely young man who wouldn't have passed without saying hello".

The Apprentice Boys of Derry's Larne Walker Club, said they thought of William as "a true brother, gone too soon from us all".

DUP councillor Greg McKeen, who knows the Davey family, said: "When a young life is lost your thoughts and prayers are with the family.

"The stress of not knowing what happened and then getting the news about such a sudden death must be mind numbing.

"They are such a close, tight-knit family and the news is just really devastating."

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