Belfast Telegraph

Man arrested in Jonathan Cairns murder probe


Jonathan Cairns whose body was found in Loughermore Forest, Ballykelly, Co Londonderry in 1999
Jonathan Cairns whose body was found in Loughermore Forest, Ballykelly, Co Londonderry in 1999

A 49-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a Co Londonderry teenager more than 20 years ago.

The man, who was arrested in Coleraine, has also been detained on suspicion of withholding information and perverting the course of justice.

The suspect has been taken to Coleraine Police Station for questioning.

Jonathan Cairns, from Ballykelly, was attacked as he made his way home from a night out with friends in the early hours of April 25, 1991.

The 18-year-old's body was found stripped and bound in a shallow grave in Loughermore Forest, not far from his home, later that day.

His bloodstained clothes were found in the grounds of the nearby Glasvey Special School.

A police hunt got underway and a £30,000 reward was later offered for information.

In 2002, 49-year-old Philip McGroarty, from Ballykelly, was jailed for perverting the course of justice.

He received a five-year sentence after being found guilty of helping to dispose of Jonathan's body.

Two men arrested in Limavady in November by detectives investigating the murder were later released, as was a 44-year-old woman arrested in Dungiven.

On the 20th Anniversary of Jonathan's murder earlier this year, his parents Raymond and Hazel Cairns made a heartfelt plea to people with information regarding their son's killing to come forward.

"It has been 20 years since our Jonathan was murdered. We miss him every day as bad as ever," Mr Cairns said.

"Jonathan was only 18 when he was murdered, he now would have been 38, maybe with a family of his own. We have missed all that.

"Jonathan was always a happy person, always smiling and always looking out for us. We loved him as much as he loved us and we think about him every day, all the time.

"To anyone who has information, it's never too late to come forward. Please tell us what you know."


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