Irish News

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Police confirm body found in London is that of missing teen Patrick Halpin

Published 07/02/2014|02:30

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The scene close to Leicester Square in Central London where a body has been found as police sought missing Irish teen Patrick Halpin
The scene close to Leicester Square in Central London where a body has been found as police sought missing Irish teen Patrick Halpin

Police in London have confirmed that a body found in the search for Irish teenager Patrick Halpin is believed to be him.

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Speaking to the Irish Independent earlier today, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: "Although formal identification has yet to take place, we believe the body found last night close to Leicester Square is that of missing Irish man Patrick Halpin.

"Next of kin has been informed.

"It is being treated as non-suspicious."

A post-mortem is expected to take place soon.

DCU student Patrick (18), from Loughrea, Co Galway, was on a trip to London with the university's drama society when he went missing on Tuesday night after leaving Zoo Bar in Leicester Square.

Late last night, Metropolitan Police, who had been searching for the young man, said they had found a body, although it was too soon to confirm its identity.

"Police appealing for information to trace missing 18-year-old Patrick Halpin have found a body," a spokesperson said.

"The body was discovered at approximately 7.50pm in the vicinity of Burger King and the Zoo Bar off Leicester Square, W1."

Enquiries were under way late last night to establish the identity of the deceased.

Last night investigating officers had cordoned off two areas.

One of the areas which was sealed off from members of the public is close to the Zoo Bar in Bear Street, where Patrick had been with friends.

Three police were at the scene last night, which is at the back of Bear Street.

The location is just off Charing Cross Road, which runs parallel to Leicester Square – one of the busiest areas of London.

The missing teenager's sister, Regina, and father, Paddy, had flown to London yesterday to assist in the search and in the evening they were elated when news surfaced that he had turned up at the airport after rejoining the travelling group.

However, hopes were cruelly dashed when that turned out to be an error after an airport official informed police he had checked in for a flight home.

"It was just a massive error and it's devastating for the family. They thought Patrick had checked in for the flight but it was just his name on a block booking from the college," explained a family friend.

His devastated sister, Regina, had taken to social media posting a message of delight informing the thousands involved in the search for Patrick that he had been found.

However, her relief was short-lived and she was forced to inform followers that he was still missing.

FALSE NEWS

The error was also a blow for Patrick's mother Elsie at the family home in Loughrea Co Galway. She had broken down with relief on hearing her only son was safe, only to be told a short time later that the news was false.

The family now face an agonising wait as the police work to identify the body which was found in the centre of London.

Regina and her father were in London last night and Regina had earlier explained how she and her father had booked one-way tickets and would remain in the city as long as it took.

In an emotional appeal to her brother earlier yesterday, Regina urged him to contact his worried family if he could.

A massive online campaign to trace Patrick's whereabouts had been launched, with pleas for anyone available in the London area to help in the search.

The DCU student was last seen leaving Zoo nightclub and heading towards Burger King.

The alarm was raised when he hadn't returned to the hostel by the next morning and missed a show, 'The Book of Mormon', that he had been looking forward to that afternoon.

Regina said this was out of character for her brother.

"Patrick is very young. We're really concerned. It's completely out of character for him to just disappear like that. I've kept myself busy organising the online campaign to help find him but my parents have just been waiting at home for news. It's harder for them, they feel they can't do as much," she added.

Caroline Crawford

Irish Independent

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