Parents’ fresh appeal about murder of Ballykelly teenager

Jonathan Cairns. INLV1112-245KDR
Jonathan Cairns. INLV1112-245KDR

The heartbroken parents of murdered Ballykelly teenager, Jonathan Cairns, have made a fresh appeal for information as they approach the 18th anniversary of their son’s brutal death.

Hazel and Raymond Cairns have always vowed to never give up on getting justice for their son, but they admit their hopes fade as each year passes.

We still have hope, you have to; hope that someone’s conscience will make them do the right thing.

Hazel Cairns

“Jonathan’s dead as long as he was alive,” Hazel said.

“It’s heartbreaking, surely, and you start to think the killer has got away and the evidence has gone with them.”

Jonathan Cairns - known as ‘Johnny Bap’ to his friends - was last seen by his parents standing at a chip shop with his friends in Ballykelly in the early hours of April 25, 1999.

The 18-year-old’s body was found in a shallow grave in Loughermore Forest, five miles from the family home where his parents still live. His blood-soaked clothes were found just yards from his home in the grounds of a local school.

Despite a huge police hunt at the time, and the offer of a £30,000 reward, which remains, no one has been charged with his murder.

One man was convicted when he was found guilty of helping to dispose of Jonathan’s body.

The Cairns family desperately hope, that as they approach the 18th anniversary of their son’s death, “somebody has something different to say, and they’ll come forward to the police, something that will help.”

“We still have hope, you have to,” said Hazel, “hope that someone’s conscience will make them do the right thing.”

Raymond said the family are touched by the kind gestures from people who have never forgotten Jonathan.

“We don’t know who they are, but they leave flowers at Jonathan’s grave and that’s appreciated very much,” he said.

“Jonathan never got the chance to move on, and we’re still stuck where we are, thinking of all the possibilities that could have been. Maybe things have changed for some people and they’ll feel now they can come forward .”

Information can be given on the police non-emergency number, 101, or by calling the Crimestoppers Charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.