‘Justice for Jonathan’

Sixteen years after the brutal murder of Ballykelly teenager Jonathan Cairns, a renewed appeal to catch those responsible has started online.

A Facebook page - Justice for Jonathan Cairns - features pictures of Jonathan as a baby through to his teenage years. The page, started by a close family member and close friend of Jonathan’s, also features press clippings covering the murder which rocked the Co Londonderry village in 1999.

Jonathan Cairns

Jonathan Cairns

A video showing the route Jonathan is understood to have taken the night he was murdered also features.

Raymond Cairns hopes the Facebook page will yield new information.

“We’re very happy to see it, and we hope it will keep what happened to Jonathan fresh in the minds of people. You just never know,” Raymond said.

Jonathan was standing at the local chip shop with his friends in the village in the early hours of April 25, 1999.

The 18-year-old smiled and waved to his parents as they drove past on their way home after a night with friends. It was the last time they saw their son alive.

His body was found in a shallow grave in Loughermore Forest, five miles from the family home where his parents still live.

His bloodied clothing turned up, neatly folded, just yards from his home in the grounds of a local school.

Hazel and Raymond Cairns are adamant someone knows exactly what happened to their son.

A £30,000 reward for information leading to the killer, or killers is still being offered.

A man from Ballykelly was jailed for five years for helping to dispose of Jonathan’s body.

No-one has ever been convicted of his murder.

Police re-opened the inquiry in 2012.

Detective Chief Inspector John McVea, who is leading the inquiry, said the investigation remains open, and added: “Jonathan died a violent death as a result of a vicious beating which went far beyond a drunken assault.

“I believe his killer, or killers were local to Ballykelly and they might have known Jonathan.

“His parents still don’t know why he was attacked on his way home after a night out. They deserve an answer and they deserve justice for their son.”

Information can be given to police on the 101 number or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.