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'Disappeared' search uncovers human remains in Antrim

Police searching for the remains of Peter Wilson, who died in 1973, discover human remains.

Forensic offers on the beach at Waterfoot in Co Antrim, where the search for Peter Wilson uncovered a human body earlier today.
Forensic offers on the beach at Waterfoot in Co Antrim, where the search for Peter Wilson uncovered a human body earlier today.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

POLICE SEARCHING for the remains of a victim of the Troubles in Northern Ireland have discovered a human body in Co Antrim.

Investors had begun their search for Peter Wilson (21) on the beach at the seaside village of Waterfoot last week.

In a statement this afternoon, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVA), which had organised the search after a tip-off, confirmed that it had uncovered “human remains” in its examination of the area.

“The recovery is ongoing and the formal identification process will take some time,” the ICLVA’s statement said. “The family of Mr Wilson and the Police Service of Northern Ireland have been informed.”

Wilson, who had learning difficulties, vanished after leaving his home in Beechmount, near the Falls Road area of West Belfast, in August 1973.

A statement released by Wilson’s family described the discovery of the remains as “a special day for our family”, saying that “today, on All Souls Day, his body has been found, and while that does not tell us what happened, at least now we will be able to give him a Christian burial.

“Right now it has not completely sunk in. We were hopeful when the dig began, but we did not expect a result so soon.”

Peter’s surviving siblings had previously said they had often walked the beach with their late mother, and had never known their brother’s remains could have been there all along.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams also welcomed the developments, saying his thoughts were with the Wilson family.

Full recovery of the remains is likely to take several weeks. If the remains are positively identified as those of Mr Wilson, it will mark the first time that one of the ‘Disappeared’ has been recovered within Northern Ireland itself.

Wilson’s sister Patricia Gearon had earlier laid a black wreath at the Stormont Assembly in memory of the Disappeared before news of the recovery had broken.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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