Belfast Telegraph

Body of missing 15-year-old John Paul Smyth recovered after 'tragic accident'

John Paul Smyth
John Paul Smyth
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

The body of missing 15-year-old John Paul Smyth has been recovered after a five day search.

The teenager, known as 'JP', was last seen in Warrenpoint town centre on New Year's Eve. Police appealed for anyone with information about his whereabouts to come forward.

In the following days community search and rescue teams combed the area looking for the missing teenager.

On Saturday evening police confirmed that the search for JP had ended.

"Thank you to everyone for all your help and support and who shared our appeal to find missing teenager 15-year-old John Paul (JP) Smith," a spokesperson said.

"Sadly, we are no longer searching for JP and offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends this evening."

JP was a pupil at St Paul's High School, Bessbrook. The school said that the Year 12 pupil's death was "tragic and accidental".

Local councillor Jarlath Tinnelly said that his body had been recovered from the water.

"Initial indications are this was nothing more than a tragic accident. My thoughts and prayers are with John Paul's family at this tragic time. May he rest in peace," he said.

Vice Principal at St Paul's Daithi Murray said that he had held out hope JP would be found.

"Such sad, sad news," he said.

"He was a lovely pupil, friendly and courteous. He had a bright future ahead of him."

Writing on social media a school spokesperson said that his death had "shocked and saddened us all".

"The thoughts and prayers of the entire St Paul’s community go out to JP’s family and friends," the spokesperson said.

"JP’s infectious personality and his friendly smile endeared him to so many pupils and staff at St Paul’s."

The school's oratory will be open on Sunday from 12 to 2pm for pupils, their families and members of staff who wish to gather and remember JP.

Support will also be offered to pupils affected by JPs death when they return to school on Monday.

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