Thursday 22 August 2019

Search continues for 'shining star' missing teacher Catherine Johnston

Missing schoolteacher Catherine Johnston
Missing schoolteacher Catherine Johnston
Rescue crews use drones and powerful searchlights in a bid to find missing teacher Catherine Johnston

David Young

The search for missing woman Catherine Johnston continued yesterday, but for her worried family there is still no news of her whereabouts.

The Hazelwood Integrated College teacher from east Belfast was last seen on Tuesday.

When her white Seat Leon car was later discovered at Ballintoy harbour on the north Antrim coast, the find sparked a massive air and sea search operation involving the PSNI and the coastguard.

A rescue helicopter from Prestwick in Scotland was deployed in the search, as well as hi-tech sonar locating equipment.

Rescue crews use drones and powerful searchlights in a bid to find missing teacher Catherine Johnston
Rescue crews use drones and powerful searchlights in a bid to find missing teacher Catherine Johnston

Three days of intensive searching have so far failed to find any trace of the 39-year-old.

The search operation is concentrated around the Dunseverick Castle and Carrick-a-rede areas.

A PSNI spokesman said last night that the search operation was ongoing.

Mrs Johnston, who teaches at Hazelwood College and is also head of year 10 pupils, was described as "a shining star" by Hazelwood Integrated College principal Kathleen O'Hare.

Ms O'Hare said that pupils at the school were informed of her disappearance at Wednesday morning's assembly, during which prayers were said for her.

"She was head of year 12 last year and they got the best results ever in our 30 years of existence, so that's how shining a star she is," said Ms O'Hare.

The college's Facebook page said: "All of the Hazelwood community are hoping & praying for the safe return of our dear friend."

Mrs Johnston, who had been off work ill in the last few days, had moved to east Belfast from her previous home in Dundonald.

Appealing for help from the public, PSNI Inspector David Burns said: "I would appeal to anyone who was in the Ballintoy Harbour area anytime between Tuesday, December 13, and Wednesday, December 14, and who may have seen Catherine or taken any photographs in this area to contact police on the non-emergency number 101.

Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News