Body discovered in Magilligan was that of missing Belfast man

The body found by schoolchildren at Magilligan was that on John McIlwaine from Belfast.
The body found by schoolchildren at Magilligan was that on John McIlwaine from Belfast.

Police have confirmed a body discovered by children from a Londonderry primary school at Magilligan on Tuesday (May 20) was that of the late Belfast man, John McIlwaine, who was 54.

Mr McIlwaine was last seen on the Strand Road in Portstewart on April 23.

The PSNI say they are not treating his death as suspicious, but are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen or spoken to Mr McIlwaine before April 23.

The principal of the Londonderry Model said on Tuesday (May 20) that none of the pupils who discovered Mr McIlwaine’s body in Magilligan during a field trip were traumatised.

Paul Sheridan said: “What we have encouraged them to do is talk about the incident, let the children talk about it and share their experience, and to keep a close eye on them. None of them at this stage seem to be traumatised.”

The school principal said a Primary 7 class was combing the beach in small groups, when five of them saw the outline of a body and reported it to their teacher.

He said: “They were working in groups when they came across the body, and they then reported to their teacher. The children were taken away from the scene and the appropriate authorities, police, coastguard, on both sides of the border were informed.

“I was contacted at the school and the children then went and had their lunch and came back to school. I have been in contact with the relevant authorities within the Western Board and spoke to the children who were in the group that found the body. We also contacted all the parents of that class to tell them what had happened.”

He added: “We don’t know who the person is, but the school extends our condolences to the family. They are in our prayers.”