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new hope Family of Lisa Dorian believe man who helped hide her body holds key to her murder

PSNI reveal that there was no paramilitary involvement

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Lisa Dorrian who went missing in 2005

Lisa Dorrian who went missing in 2005

Lisa Dorrian who went missing in 2005

The sister of murdered Lisa Dorrian says their hopes are pinned on the “family” man who helped hide her body, but was not involved in her murder, ending their nightmare.

Joanne Dorrian told the Sunday World yesterday: “Whatever was in his thinking 16 years ago, whatever his reasons for doing that, they aren’t relevant anymore.

“He has his own family now. We believe he has a conscience”

She was speaking after the leading detective investigating Lisa’s disappearance and death confirmed for the first time that one of a small number of people involved in her death did not kill her.

PSNI Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy also revealed that there was no paramilitary involvement in her murder.

The 25-year-old from Bangor disappeared from a campsite in Ballyhalbert 16 years ago, with her body remaining hidden ever since.

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Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy and Joanne Dorrian

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy and Joanne Dorrian

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy and Joanne Dorrian

She had attended a party where it is believed she was murdered before her body was secretly disposed.

Detectives do not believe Lisa’s murder was pre-planned and say a small number of people “hold the key” to her disappearance on February 28, 2005.

Last week, the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team ended a four-week search in the seaside town she was last seen alive.

Police found no evidence at the Clay Pits in Ballyhalbert of Lisa’s remains.

Within hours of the searches officially ending, the Sunday World was contacted by an individual who claimed he may have significant information that could help the family in their quest to finally recover Lisa’s body.

Since speaking with our reporter, he has now made contact with police. The Dorrian family have also been made aware of the new claims which relates to a known suspect in her murder.

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Joanne said yesterday: “It’s significant that the week that police confirmed that was no paramilitary involvement someone has had the strength to come forward with something they think might be relevant.

“That gives us hope and shows what that can do.”

Lisa was last seen alive at a party by Mark Lovett, who worked as a groundsman at the Ballyhalbert site.

He told police how he and Lisa fled the caravan when they heard noises and saw flashing lights outside.

In an anonymous account given to BBC Spotlight in 2005, the then 17-year-old explained how they lost each other in the dark at 5am.

Lovett, who has convictions for possessing an offensive weapon and drugs, said he searched for Lisa and rang her mobile, which was answered by her ex-boyfriend Stevie Thompson, who is not a police suspect.

For years it was suspected that loyalist paramilitaries had some part in Lisa’s death.

It had previously been reported that the LVF and UVF were blamed for harbouring the young woman’s killers.

However, in an interview with UTV Live on Friday, Detective Superintendent Murphy discounted that there was any paramilitary involvement in the shop assistant’s murder.

“I’m really satisfied from looking at all the material over the past 16 years that there was no paramilitary involvement whatsoever,” he said.

“So if anyone feels the fear from the spectre of paramilitary involvement in this investigation in any way shape or form, they can now set that to one side.”

The Det Supt added: “I can’t create amnesties for individuals to tell me about involvement in criminal offences and then guarantee they won’t be prosecuted, but what I can do is to create opportunities for those people who have information and want to unburden themselves of it by bringing that information to my team confidentially, privately and with no risk.”

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The Clay Pits in Ballyhalbert which were searched by police divers

The Clay Pits in Ballyhalbert which were searched by police divers

The Clay Pits in Ballyhalbert which were searched by police divers

Lisa’s sisters Joanne and Michelle also spoke of the pain after the latest searches ended without success, and called again for anyone with information to come forward.

Joanne said: “The person who hid Lisa’s body but played no part in her murder... come and tell us where she is, that’s all we need from them, is a place.”

Michelle said she believed the trauma experienced by the family had also led to the early death of their mother Pat.

“My mum would still be here if Lisa was here,” she said.

“This is what caused my mum to die. We know ourselves, that’s totally unimaginable because we have children ourselves.”

Asked how the family have managed to keep their spirit, Joanne said: “We’re just always driven by the love that we have for Lisa.

“So whenever we think that we don’t want to get up out of bed one day or we don’t want to just face the day, then you just remember that you’re doing it for her, this is for Lisa.”

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