Belfast Telegraph

New probe into 1987 murder of Lorraine McCausland who was dumped in stream

By Nevin Farrell

The PSNI is carrying out a fresh examination of the murder of a young Protestant mum-of-two who was killed by loyalist paramilitaries in Belfast 27 years ago.

The new investigation comes after a leading pathologist identified potential evidence missed in the initial probe.

Lorraine McCausland, who was from Forthriver Crescent, was stripped of her clothing, beaten and dumped in a stream in the Ballysillan area of north Belfast in March 1987.

The 22-year-old was returning home from a night out in a loyalist drinking den before she was attacked.

A leading figure in the UDA was considered the chief suspect in the brutal murder.

Following a review of the murder, the Historical Enquiries Team said that the main suspect was recruited weeks later by the police as an informer. However, it could not prove collusion was a factor in the killing.

The Police Ombudsman is investigating claims the police could have done more to bring those responsible for the killing to justice.

Earlier this year leading UK pathologist Dr Nat Cary – who has worked on notorious deaths including the killing of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko and the murders in Soham of children Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman – said vital clues were missed in the investigation.

Dr Cary also helped secure the conviction of serial killer Robert Black for the 1981 murder of Co Antrim schoolgirl Jennifer Cardy.

He was asked by the McCausland family to review the murder and he found that she may have been raped by her killer and that evidence could still exist to help track those responsible.

His report has been handed to the PSNI, which said it is now carrying out a new examination of the murder and considering the new material.

Lorraine's sister Cathy McIlvenny said: "It's hard knowing who was responsible and being able to do nothing about it.

"They didn't just murder Lorraine, they destroyed a family, her two boys, her brothers and sisters. It changed life completely.

"But I think if we can get a day in court and justice, we as a family can move on.

"For the first time in years I have been able to finally say to Lorraine, your day is coming."

Solicitor Padraig O Muirigh said: "The family have always said this was not a political murder, albeit it was carried out by members of paramilitary organisation, but this was the brutal murder of a young woman. If this happened in any part of Birmingham, London, Dublin or Cork this would be investigated properly."

At the time of Lorraine's death her father took an advertisement in the Belfast Telegraph offering £1,000 for information.

It read: 'Someone knows – please help.'

Background

Young Protestant mother-of-two Lorraine McCausland was brutally killed as she returned home from a night out drinking at a loyalist club in north Belfast in 1987. Her body was found stripped and dumped in a stream in Ballysillan.

A leading figure in the UDA was the prime suspect in her murder. He was later recruited as an informer by the RUC.

Police are now to reopen the case after a review found that she may have been raped and evidence could still exist to point to her killer.

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