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Bid to identify man found dead in torched car in Derry


Police and forensics officers at the scene in Galliagh

Police and forensics officers at the scene in Galliagh

Police and forensics officers at the scene in Galliagh

The PSNI has yet to identify a man whose body was found in a burning stolen car in Londonderry.

Firefighters discovered the remains in the passenger seat of the red Mazda which was ablaze in Derry's Galliagh Park shortly after 4am on Saturday.

The vehicle had been stolen in the Rosemount area of the city.

Police said they had received reports that the car had struck a lamppost in the nearby Fairview Road around 4am, had caught fire and travelled further into the estate before coming to a halt beside fencing.

Officers last night appealed again for help in identifying the man.

A major police operation was mounted in the early hours of Saturday with four roads in the estate cordoned off.

The car and the streets it had travelled were sealed off until late on Saturday evening.

There was a sense of shock in the local community at events.

Galliagh Park resident John Molloy said: "I was getting ready to go to work and looked out to see the car well alight.

"The fire brigade were there trying to put it out, and the police were there and had cordoned off the area.

"There was so much smoke coming off it. It seemed to be burning more at the back than at the front.

"At that stage I didn't realise that there was anyone in the car.

"Nobody was expecting this when they woke up this morning. People are absolutely gobsmacked. Everyone is in shock.

"The car sat at the bottom of the street and the body in it for hours on Saturday.

"Everyone's heart just goes out to the family of this young man. It's unreal. I feel so sorry for the family knowing that their poor child is in there. It's some mother's son. It's so unfair."

SDLP councillor Brian Tierney urged anyone with information about the deceased to come forward and asked others to use caution when commenting on social media about the incident.

"Obviously we are very aware of the tragic circumstances that have unfolded in our area in the early hours of Saturday morning," he said.

"I would encourage anyone who saw anything or think they might have seen anything, big or little, to come forward as a matter of urgency.

"Our thoughts are with this man's family and we would encourage anyone who might know who he is to contact the police.

"I would encourage everyone to contact their loved ones, whether estranged or not, just to check in with them, so that we can try and find out who this man is, so we can get the victim identified and get the family some closure.

"I would appeal to people to be cautious around what they are writing on social media relating to the very, very tragic circumstances which have led to this man's death.

"In my opinion, the people who are writing comments are doing nothing but adding to a family's grief and pain and that is not what they need at this particular time.

"What they need now is for the community to rally around them and support them and that is what I would encourage people to do."

The PSNI appealed for anyone who had any information about who may have been travelling in the car to contact officers at Strand Road.

It said it was particularly keen to hear from anyone who was concerned for the whereabouts of a loved one who they have not seen recently. The number to call is 101, citing reference 316 01/06/19.

Belfast Telegraph