Police investigating the murder of Lisa Dorrian have concluded their searches of the Clay Pits in Ballyhalbert but have found no evidence relating to Lisa or her disappearance.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy of the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Serious Crime Branch said: “Despite several weeks of meticulous search activity by specialist divers and colleagues from the search and rescue team, Lisa’s body has not been found. Lisa’s family have been informed and whilst they recognise and appreciate the work we have conducted, they are nevertheless devastated once more. For sixteen years, whoever disposed of Lisa’s body has denied her family a fundamental right, to bury Lisa with dignity and respect.

“I have reached out to anyone who was involved in disposing of Lisa’s body to tell me where she is, so that I can finally give her family peace. Knowing where Lisa is, will have been a heavy burden for individuals to carry for the past 16 years – not knowing where Lisa is has tortured her family and caused untold distress. All of that burden and pain can be resolved quickly, but I need those who have that crucial information to get it to me.

“Once again, the public response in Ballyhalbert and further afield has been astounding. Each time we conduct searches, we disrupt the life of that community, but the expressions of support and the willingness to provide information have once again come to the fore. We will keep working with the community in our quest to find Lisa and bring justice for her family. Whilst this phase of search activity has not taken us forward, I have restated our commitment to finding Lisa, to her family. We are steadfast in our collective determination and we have already begun the process of developing our next steps. I would like to place on record my thanks to the National Trust and local businesses for their unwavering support in the past few weeks.

“I continue to appeal for those with direct knowledge of Lisa’s whereabouts to find a way to get that information to me, anonymously or via a third party if necessary. Anyone with information should call detectives on 101. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111."