Belfast Telegraph

Marian Beattie's family renew plea to find killer, 45 years on

By Adrian Rutherford

The brother of a woman murdered and dumped in a quarry 45 years ago has appealed for help to bring her killer to justice.

Marian Beattie (18) was found dead after attending a charity dance near Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, in 1973.

In 2013, on the 40th anniversary of her death, police reopened the case. However, nobody has been charged and the case remains unsolved.

Recently, on the 45th anniversary of her death, the Beattie family visited the scene outside Aughnacloy to lay flowers and light candles.

Her brother Gerard has now urged the public to help find his sister's killer.

"Marian was a brilliant sister. She was very good to us and my mother and father," he said.

"She was just a normal, happy girl who never caused any bother.

"There has been an empty space since she died."

The teenager, from Portadown, Co Armagh, had attended a Save the Children charity dance in Hadden's Garage, between Aughnacloy and Ballygawley, on March 30, 1973 with her older brother and best friend.

She was last seen leaving the dance with a man described as being in his late teens shortly after 1am and heading with him towards the car park at the top of Hadden's Quarry, just over 400 yards away. Five hours later, Marian's body was found at the bottom of the quarry.

Gerard said a recent appeal had triggered some information.

"At Christmas we sent a letter out to be read in the churches and chapels around Aughnacloy and Ballygawley asking people for their help," he added.

"As a result, we've received some information from people in recent months and we thank them for coming forward and helping us. As this is the time of the 45th anniversary, we are appealing for other people to come forward again. We are seeking the truth, justice and closure."

Local criminologist Robert Giles has been assisting the family in their quest for justice.

He said he believes the answers lie in the Aughnacloy and South Tyrone area, and there are people who can help.

He added: "I would like to re-iterate the words of the PSNI four years ago when Marian's case was last re-opened, we believe there is a man and possibly others who know what happened that night. We urge them to do the right thing and come forward. The day after the dance was the day of the Grand National and this may help jog people's memories.

"Was there anyone acting suspiciously by their behaviour or nature around this period of time?

"To the people who attended the dance that night, think back - did anyone return home from the dance in a distressed or dishevelled state? Or with dust and dirt on their clothes?

"Who was Marian talking to that night and dancing with? Did you see her leave Hadden's Garage and who was she with? Did you see her at the car park at the top of Hadden's Quarry shortly after 1.15am that Saturday morning?"

Mr Giles said the family had waited too long for answers.

"Marian's killing was not a sectarian or politically motivated crime. She was just a young girl who was enjoying herself when her life was taken," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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