Police re-open investigation into 1987 north Belfast murder
Detectives from Serious Crime Branch announced today they have re-opened an investigation into the murder of 23 year old Lorraine McCausland in north Belfast in 1987.
Lorraine, a mother of two young boys, was found beside a stream in the Forthriver area in the early hours of 8 March 1987. She had been for a night out and was last seen in a loyalist club at Tyndale.
Detective Inspector Michelle Griffin said: “The investigation is being re-opened because, having reviewed the case, police believe there are potential new lines of enquiry.
“It is our assessment that Lorraine had been enjoying a night out with friends and ended up in a loyalist drinking club at Tyndale. We believe she was raped in the club and later savagely beaten inside and outside the premises before her partially clothed body was dumped on open ground beside a nearby river.
“This was a merciless beating of a vulnerable young woman. It has had a profound effect on her family. It would also have had a lasting impact on the people who witnessed these events 29 years ago. The people involved in this attack are still at large.
“We are distributing leaflets in the immediate area to highlight the reinvestigation and we are making a public appeal to those with information about the events of that night to come forward.
“I am appealing to anyone who was in the club on the night of Saturday 7 and the early hours of Sunday 8 March 1987. It’s a long time ago but I’m sure everyone who was there still carries those memories. They will probably never leave them.
“I want them to think about what happened that night: the brutal rape and subsequent murder of a defenceless, vulnerable young woman who left her home in Forthriver Crescent for a night out with some friends and ended up being savagely beaten.
“Lorraine was a popular member of the local community. She had worked as a stitcher and then in her sister’s mobile shop.
Everybody in the area knew Lorraine and liked her for her personality and kindness. But some people have been reluctant to assist with the investigation into her rape and murder.
“The shadow of loyalist paramilitarism hangs over this case. I believe people have been reluctant to tell the truth about that night, what they saw and heard, what they know, because they are frightened.
“I understand their fear but I believe there are ways of dealing with this and providing a mechanism to enable people to come forward and tell us what they know about the events of that night so that we can get justice for Lorraine and her family. Times have changed, people and personalities have changed. I would ask those people who have information to ask themselves if they are now in a position to help a victim and her family get the truth and secure justice.
“I would ask anyone with information to talk to police. We will do everything in our power to ensure they do so in safety and confidence. “
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives from Serious Crime Branch on the non-emergency 101 number. Alternatively, people who do not wish to leave their personal details can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
During the earlier police investigation, a total of 14 people were arrested but no one has yet been charged. Detectives conducted 29 searches and took more than 100 witness statements. A total of 107 exhibits were submitted for forensic examination and 45 exhibits subjected to examination by fingerprint experts.
D/I Griffin said: “Much work has already been done on this investigation. We are seeking to obtain the additional and crucial information from people in the community who can help Lorraine and her family achieve closure and justice.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that will assist the investigation to contact us on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.