Police launch murder investigation after new 'lead' on missing man
A murder investigation has been launched by police searching for a man once described in court as "a loyalist foot soldier".
Mark Gourley (36) from the Castlemara area of Carrickfergus was last seen in the Glengormley area at around 9.30am on March 7, 2009.
New evidence has come to the attention of detectives who are making a fresh appeal for information.
Mr Gourley went missing more than four years ago, when his mother Beryl made an impassioned appeal for information over his whereabouts, stressing that he was "vulnerable and required daily medication".
In a statement, the PSNI said: "As a result of new evidence, police have launched a murder investigation."
This image of Mark was used to appeal for information at the time of his disappearance. He was around 5ft, 9" tall, described as 'well-built', around 10-11stone, he had short dirty fair cropped hair, an eyebrow bolt in his right eyebrow.
He was wearing a black zipped jacket with a grey motif on the back of the shoulders, dark Umbro tracksuit bottoms, black trainers and may have been wearing a blue Glasgow Rangers woollen hat.
"Mark was a vulnerable individual and was on medication at the time of his disappearance," said a police spokesperson.
"We are appealing to anyone who may have information about Mark's disappearance or who may have seen Mark on or after March 7, 2009, to contact police on 02890 259 542.Previous appeals for information did generate reports of sightings however; the last definitive sighting of Mark was at 2.30pm on 07 March 2009 in the Burney's Lane area of Glengormley.
"Mark did not have a mobile phone or a significant amount of money with him when he disappeared.While Mark was last seen in the Glengormley area he was from the Castlemara area of Carrickfergus and he may have returned to that area on March 7, 2009.
"Police believe that there are people in these communities who have knowledge of what has happened to Mark. People may have heard rumours about what happened to Mark. We would appeal to them to share this information with police. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers by telephoning 0800 555 111."