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Raymond Kelly: I will never stop looking for my son

Father pleads for information on man who disappeared 15 years ago

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Raymond Kelly holds a missing persons appeal leaflet outside Pats Bar in Belfast, where his son was last seen

Raymond Kelly holds a missing persons appeal leaflet outside Pats Bar in Belfast, where his son was last seen

Martin Kelly

Martin Kelly

CCTV footage of Martin on the night he vanished

CCTV footage of Martin on the night he vanished

Martin Kelly hasn't been seen since New Year's Day in 2006

Martin Kelly hasn't been seen since New Year's Day in 2006

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Raymond Kelly holds a missing persons appeal leaflet outside Pats Bar in Belfast, where his son was last seen

THE father of a man who went missing on New Year’s Day in 2006 has vowed to never give up his search for answers about his son’s disappearance.

Raymond Kelly today renews his plea for information about what happened to his son Martin. The 21-year-old, from Holywood, Co Down, was drinking with friends in Pats Bar in Belfast’s Sailortown area but left the pub alone at around 7pm.

“This is end of the 15th year of his disappearance and I believe there are still people out there who have information that could unravel this,” Raymond told Sunday Life.

Martin had gone to the bar to watch a football match with friends.

They left in two taxis, with each group under the impression he was in the other car.

“It’s not just a question of Martin coming out of the bar and not getting a taxi home to Holywood,” explained Raymond.

“He left and then went back into the bar about 15 minutes later and got another pint.

“He was offered a lift home by two men from Holywood. He accepted and was in good spirits.

“But he got a call and his whole mindset changed because he finished his pint and went to the toilet.

“Then, rather than walking past these two men and out the front door, he pulled tables and chairs out of the way and opened the side door that takes you out on to Clarendon Dock.

“He gets a call and then exits through the back of the property. You can’t blame that on drink — something in that phone call changed him.

“A lot of drink was taken and we have made allowances for that, but I believe it’s deeper than that.”

Martin, who worked as a plumber and part-time barman, was not familiar with the docks area and was last seen on CCTV walking along the riverfront, past what was then the Prudential Insurance office, now home to Capita.

A memorial plaque on a bench outside the building, called Beacon House, marks the approximate spot where Martin was last seen on camera.

Searches of the river were carried out without success and he was not seen on any other security cameras in the area.

Pats Bar, on Prince’s Dock Street, has been closed for more than 10 years and is earmarked for redevelopment.

“Certain people in Pats Bar never came forward despite police appeals,” said Raymond.

“These were people who he had met and talked to and we are still looking for them to come forward.”

Raymond also said a line of inquiry that was not fully followed up was that of two women who allegedly overheard a conversation in a bar in Holywood in January 2006 about men who were “going to do Martin in”.

He added that a call to police in June last year by a person who gave a name of someone who might have information about Martin’s disappearance was met with a dead end. He also asked that person to get in touch again to give more details.

Martin was 6ft 1in, of a slim build and with short dark hair. He was wearing a black, Guinness-branded T-shirt and blue jeans when he disappeared.

Anyone with information can contact police detectives at Musgrave on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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