Belfast Telegraph

Sister in emotional message to missing Belfast man Robert Holmes

By Allan Preston

The sister of a missing Belfast man has made a heartfelt appeal for his return.

Robert Holmes (42) was last seen on Wednesday, October 17 at Lakeview Avenue in Newtownabbey.

Joanne Clarke (48) told the Belfast Telegraph the family had been devastated by his disappearance.

"We're worried about him. He has three beautiful children - Katie (16), Evie (11) and Oscar (9) - and we all just want him back," she said.

His wife Anne-Marie and parents Robert and Margaret are all desperate to hear from him, she added.

Mr Holmes, who has been working as a labourer, is also well-known as a singer-songwriter on the local music scene.

Rock band Snow Patrol and Belfast DJ and friend David Holmes are among high-profile names lending their support to the appeal.

Addressing her brother directly, Ms Clarke said: "On behalf of your whole family we want you to know we love you.

"You're not in any trouble whatsoever, we just want you home, safe and sound. Please come to my house or your mum's house.

"Wherever you are, just go into the nearest shop and ask them to get word to your family."

She said the family wanted to reassure him there was no need to feel anxious or embarrassed.

Recalling the last time she saw her brother, she said: "He had just started a new labouring job and he was loving it.

"He'd also started a new walking group and had made new friends; he was in Newcastle about three Saturdays ago and really made a connection with the members.

"He was writing new songs as well and they were all about praising God. The kids would have come round and he made dinner for them. He's just a lovely, lovely man. He was just starting to go on a journey with the Lord, he had loads to look forward to and was doing well."

She said her brother would often go off on walks "to clear his head", with Cavehill being his favourite spot.

"Something like this has never happened before, he would always come home. This is really unusual," she added.

As part of the search effort, posters with his picture have been put up around the beauty spot.

Ms Clarke also asked anyone with CCTV in the Newtownabbey and Ballysillan areas to check their footage from around 1pm on October 17.

"He loved his children, he was talented with his music. Anyone who met him knew how charismatic he was," she said.

"Even the people he met in the last month are in tears, because he made such an impact with them.

"There's maybe also a sad side to him as well for this to happen, but we felt he was in a positive place.

"Our parents are in bits. We're such a small family, there's only the four of us and we're very close-knit and rely on each other an awful lot.

"They're just heartbroken. My mum just wants him in a safe environment and is just devastated in case he's lying somewhere.

"We would like to thank the police and rescue services, they've been great in keeping us up to date."

Yesterday the PSNI issued a fresh appeal for anyone with information to contact it on 101, quoting reference number 557 for October 17, 2018.

Belfast Telegraph

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