Belfast Telegraph

Community's shock as missing Aileen Finch's body found on beach

By Nevin Farrell

A community has spoken of its shock after a vulnerable woman who went was missing was found dead on a beach.

Tributes have been paid to 68-year-old Aileen Finch, from The Moorings in Annalong, Co Down, after her body was discovered on Wednesday evening.

Her remains were found after a search of the coastline near Ballymartin where she had been recently staying with relatives.

On Wednesday, police had put out a public appeal to find Ms Finch, saying they were concerned about her whereabouts. The public then joined with search teams to help find her.

The alarm was raised after Ms Finch went out on Tuesday night and police said she was "considered vulnerable and has restricted mobility due to her recent surgery".

Yesterday the PSNI confirmed her body was found on a beach near Ballymartin and they are not treating her death as suspicious.

Sergeant Kelly-Anne Warnock said: "I would like to thank members of the public, the local coastguard and local search and rescue teams that provided assistance in this search."

In Annalong yesterday tributes were paid to Ms Finch. Neighbour Edna Teggarty said: "She was a lady. It's a complete shock and I couldn't believe it when I saw the police said they were appealing for information about Aileen. She would have called in here for a cup of coffee or a chat.

"Aileen was a very quiet woman. She played tennis and went for a swim in the sea nearly every day. She belonged to the Rock Pool Group in Newcastle. She lived alone in The Moorings.

"I don't think she was ever married. Her dad was a Church of Ireland minister, I think in Dundrum, and they lived in Newcastle and when he died she moved to Annalong, that was maybe 20 years ago.

"She had been staying in Ballymartin and had an operation and we hadn't seen her for a while and she must have been there recovering."

At Annalong's Harbour Inn, near where Ms Finch lived, Robert Haworth (64) said: "Everybody here is very shocked that this has happened. It's a terrible tragedy."

In Ballymartin, a woman who did not wish to be named said: "My heart goes out to her family, she has relations here in Ballymartin including local councillor Glyn Hanna."

Ballymartin man Edgar Coulter (82) said: "This is a desperate shock. A lot of people here would be down at the beach."

Ms Finch's niece Gillian Hanna lives at School Road, Ballymartin.

Yesterday Gillian's husband - DUP councillor Glyn Hanna - said the family circle did not wish to make any comment.

Belfast Telegraph


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