MISSING: Lisa Dorrian, Bangor, Northern Ireland

MISSING: Lisa Dorrian, Bangor, Northern Ireland

 Quick Note

This case focuses on the disappearance of Lisa Dorrian. With that being said we don’t condone the naming and shaming of individual’s by Northern Irish newspapers. This is inappropriate and can be classed as defamation of character. Please take any news reports with a pinch of salt, as a lot of the time there are inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the reports. It’s really true that you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the papers. Forget about someone’s lifestyle, forget about what they may or may not have done, focus on the fact this woman has been missing for 12 years as we type this, and no justice has been served.

We do not express our opinions on these cases, we just display the facts for what they are, whilst weeding out the inconsistencies. You may note people’s names are not included and certain other information isn’t included in this case, this is because the PSNI haven’t confirmed this so, therefore, until this happens, we take it as gossip/rumour and not confirmed information related to the case.

Update on FOI Request from the PSNI

Click here to read the outcome of our Freedom of Information request from the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI). Obviously, this is not the outcome we hoped for, as we hoped we would be able to give our readers more information in order to help with further tips, but we completely agree with the reasons the PSNI cannot release this information.

Case Summary

Lisa Dorrian was from Bangor, Northern Ireland. She was 25 when she disappeared after a party at a caravan park in Ballyhalbert, Northern Ireland. She has been missing presumed dead ever since. Lisa’s body has never been recovered and the PSNI have recently released a renewed appeal for information on the 12th anniversary of her disappearance and recovery of her body.

Six people have been interviewed and released since her case was first opened, it has been noted in one other publication that the number of people questioned is eight, but there is no concrete evidence to confirm this. Two of those individuals were arrested for the murder of Lisa Dorrian and released on bail pending further inquiries. 

Bio: Lisa Dorrian

Name: Lisa Dorrian

DOB: 12th June 1979

Age: 25 when she went missing, she would be 40 now.

Hometown: Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Occupation: Shop Assistant 

Height: 5ft 4in

Weight: Not known

Marital Status: Single

Characteristics: Long blonde hair, blue eyes and pierced ears.

Family: 

  • Father – John Dorrian (71)
  • Mother (deceased) – Patricia Dorrian (59) 
  • Siblings –  Joanne (35), Michelle (34), and Ciara (21)

Missing Since: 28th February 2005, last seen around 4:45 am.

Last Seen: Lisa was last seen outside a caravan in Ballyhalbert Caravan park, Ballyhalbert, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.

Clothes victim was wearing when last seen: A white short-sleeved top with lettering on it, cream tracksuit bottoms and a pair of furry white UGGs/moon boots.

Case: Renewed appeal launched in April 2019

Case Background

Beautiful 25-year-old Lisa Dorrian had travelled to Ballyhalbert, Co. Down, Northern Ireland for a weekend of partying at the Ballyhalbert Caravan Park. Lisa was a Shop Assistant from Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland and was the eldest of four daughters. The beautiful blonde had an infectious smile and was very much loved by her doting family including her parents, John and Pat, and her sisters Joanne, Michelle and Ciara.

Lisa Dorrian
Area’s surrounding Ballyhalbert caravan park taken from Google Maps

At 4:45 am on the morning of the 28th February 2005, a friend of Lisa’s called her mobile as they had gotten separated after one of them thought they saw flashing lights and noises outside the caravan they were sitting in. The mobile phone was answered by Lisa’s ex-boyfriend, who was in Bangor, Co. Down at the time with another man and a woman. Her ex-boyfriend explained that he and Lisa had separated several days before and she had returned the mobile phone he had given her which was why he was the one answering it. Lisa had left her belongings in the caravan which were later found where she left them in the caravan where the party was being held. Her friend was frantic, unable to find her anywhere and unsure of what to do. The Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) was called and Lisa was reported as missing. 

The friend was the grounds person of the park which had been closed for the winter but was present at the party arranged on the night which went on into the wee hours. Neighbouring caravan’s heard the party, but none of them heard any noises or flashing lights as Lisa’s friend had previously mentioned. None of them had seen Lisa after she was separated from her friend and none knew of her whereabouts.

Lisa’s ex-boyfriend, ST, spoke to ML the next day and reported that he was in a bad way, he was very distressed and emotional over the disappearance of his friend. ML was 17 years old from a small Co. Antrim estate and was the last known person to see Lisa alive, but was high on drugs at the time. 

Six days later her heartbroken parents launched an appeal for the whereabouts of their daughter, pleading with her to return home. They wanted anyone with any information on her disappearance to come forward and let the PSNI know.

Lisa Dorrian
Photo credit: Belfast Telegraph

If she is out there, and sees all of this involvement with the police and the media, it doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about it, come back.

– John Dorrian, 6th March 2005 press conference

Lisa Dorrian
Photo credit: Irish News

The police searched air, land and sea along the Ards Peninsula and carried out a reconstruction at 5 am to try to determine where Lisa could have gone. There was several different directions Lisa could have ran, but without further information from the PSNI on which direction she was said to have went all areas would need to be searched. The caravan Lisa was last seen alive in was removed from Ballyhalbert caravan park for forensic testing, but was reported as having been cleaned. Around this time her ex-boyfriend, JM said she was hanging around with unsavoury characters with paramilitary involvement. He stated that Lisa had been spending more and more time in Ballyhalbert. 

Lisa Dorrian
Photo credit Belfast Telegraph

The PSNI change Lisa’s missing persons case to a murder investigation and graffiti appears in Ballyhalbert claiming the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) were involved in Lisa’s disappearance and murder. 

LVF Tell police where Lisa’s body is and live.

– Anon, (2005)

A few weeks later a £10,000 reward is announced for information leading to Lisa’s whereabouts. BBC Spotlight covered the case and laid the blame on the paramilitary, LVF. It was also reported via BBC Spotlight that the other paramilitaries, Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Red Hand Commando (RHC) were carrying out their own investigations into Lisa Dorrian’s disappearance. The UVF and RHC questioned two teenagers over the disappearance of Lisa Dorrian and confirmed the LVF were in fact behind the crime. Then leader of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) David Ervine who had very close ties with the UVF (having once been a member and known as a loyalist bomber before becoming a politician and peacemaker) was reported as saying he had no doubt that Lisa Dorrian was murdered by the LVF.

Lisa Dorrian
Photo credit: Belfast Telegraph
David Ervine – PUP Leader

I mean, the smart money says that it’s a very tiny number of people, and, if you push them hard enough, people will name them to you. So names are being bandied about. Let’s not kid ourselves.

– David Ervine, 2005

Following this two men were questioned over Lisa Dorrian’s disappearance and murder. Both gave different accounts of a telephone call that was made several moments after Lisa was said to have disappeared. One of the men questioned was ML, the last known person to see Lisa Dorrian alive. He claimed that he heard noises and saw flashing lights outside, he had told Lisa this and they both bolted from the caravan. He ran in one direction and Lisa in the other, he lost Lisa in the darkness. He reported that both he and Lisa had taken a lot of drugs and were hallucinating during this time.  The other person questioned was Lisa’s ex-boyfriend, ST who reportedly told ML he was in Bangor, Co. Down with another woman. ST refuted these allegations and said he was with another man and a teenage girl in Ballywalter, Co. Down and the phone had been left in his flat. He had Lisa’s mobile because she had given it back to him when they had separated a few days before. 

The BBC reported that two different allegations were made about Lisa’d death during meetings at Belfast City Hall:

  1. She was being harassed by two men over money during the last few weeks before her ‘death’.
  2. She was minding £20,000 of drug money for a known LVF member at her flat

None of these allegations have been confirmed and there was no indication whether or not Lisa’s flat was searched and if any money was ever found. These allegations were reportedly given to David Ervine who passed them along to the PSNI. 

Several weeks after Lisa Dorrian’s 26th birthday, the PSNI launch an appeal to owners of boats in the Ards Peninsula, asking them to check their vessels for any damage, signs of tampering or any missing equipment. They were also asked to be vigilant and keep an eye out in the water for anything that may be deemed suspicious. 

Lisa Dorrian
Photo credit XS Noize
The AMAZING Snow Patrol

Snow Patrol, originally from Bangor, Co. Down (Lisa’s hometown), pledge their support to Lisa’s appeal. They are seen wearing blue ribbons in memory of Lisa after Lisa’s sister, Joanne contacted them online asking for support.

For several years between 2007 – 2012 Lisa’s family continue to appeal for information leading to the return of Lisa Dorrian, but the media and PSNI remain silent. Then, in 2012, the PSNI undertake a search in farmland near Comber, Co. Down as part of the search for a vehicle that was linked to Lisa’s disappearance. The media speculated that the vehicle was used to carry Lisa’s body from the caravan park to her final destination. This has never been confirmed and no information has been given on the type of car that was searched or who it belonged to.

Lisa Dorrian
Aerial view of Ballyhalbert caravan park

For several more years there is no word on Lisa’s case and it goes cold again. In 2015, a reward of £15,000 is offered (£5,000 additional to the original reward) by the charity Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Lisa Dorrian’s murder.

Lisa Dorrian
59-year-old Jimmy Seales. Photo credit Belfast Telegraph

Jimmy Seales, a 59-year-old (turned 59 in 2019) farmer previously from Ballykeel Road near Hillsborough, Do. Down, Northern Ireland and convicted murderer of a 37-year-old farm labourer, Phillip Strickland, whom he murdered in Philip’s Citroen Saxo by shooting him with a shotgun at point-blank range on the 11th January 2012. Philip was previously threatened by the UVF, but the TMTL have seen no information in our research as to whether or not Jimmy Seales has a connection to any paramilitary organisations. This is important given that Jimmy stated that Lisa’s body was buried in a sealed container in an illegal landfill near Ballygowan, Co. Down.

Jimmy had used the illegal dumping site for years, rumours were rife he was involved in the disposal of the body, but as this has not been confirmed by the PSNI it is only speculation. The PSNI did question Jimmy after he made the admission to a Sunday newspaper on 28th June 2015. Something to note about Mr Seales, however, he had just appealed his 15-year prison sentence a few weeks prior to this ‘admission’.

Jimmy’s farm was linked to Lisa’s disappearance and police had searched his farm in October 2012 based in Comber, Co. Down. They used specialist equipment to survey the land looking for a vehicle that may have been buried. The PSNI believed this vehicle was the vehicle used to transport Lisa’s body to her final destination. It was also thought that Lisa’s body was in a shallow grave, then moved and dumped in the sea around the Ards Peninsula later. The vehicle has never been found, nor is it known what type of vehicle was used.

On the 5th January 2016, Pat Dorrian suffered a fatal heart attack at the young age of 59. She died never knowing what happened to her daughter, broken-hearted and never seeing justice done. Pat was’s funeral was held locally in Bangor and the minister was quoted as saying that Lisa’s disappearance took an ‘unbearable toll on her’. Less than a month later, the PSNI search farmland in Comber, Co. Down but stopped the search a week later after no body was recovered.

Lisa Dorrian
Photo credit: The Sun Newspaper, 2005

A year later the Dorrian family launched another appeal on the 12th anniversary of Lisa Dorrian’s disappearance. BBC Crimewatch featured Lisa’s disappearance and it sparked fresh PSNI searches. This included three new sites which included wooded areas in Craigantlet, Co. Down and Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey using specially trained police dogs. 

Unfortunately in 2018, the Dorrian’s family home was destroyed in a house fire. The detached property in Conlig, Co. Down was almost completely wiped out in the fire which took place in the early hours of 10th April 2018. The fire left John Dorrian and his youngest daughter, Ciara, homeless as they did not have home insurance and could not afford the repair costs. The family had moved into the home in 1996, just 9 years before Lisa disappeared. 

A family friend, Anette McKibbe set up a Go Fund Me to raise the funds to rebuild the Dorrian family home. There was over £40,000 worth of damage to the home and Lisa’s remaining furniture, clothes and personal items that were stored in the attic, had been destroyed in the fire leaving her father and sister with nothing but memories. If you would like to donate to the Go Fund Me, you can do so by clicking here.

The search included ground-penetrating radar, specially trained police officers, computer, a dune buggy to navigate the marshland, and a mapping suite of the area which was set up in the car park to help officers in their searches.  Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy from the PSNI gave a statement at a press conference. He stated:

Lisa Dorrian
Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy
Photo credit: Belfast Live

I firmly believe that the answers to Lisa’s disappearance lie with a small number of people. They may believe that they are bound by a common bond and have maintained their silence as a result. That silence will be a heavy and life long burden. We can help unlock that burden, but we cannot do that while they remain silent. 

We have not given up our pursuit of justice, those who choose to withhold what they know should expect us to rigorously investigate them.

Lisa Dorrian
Photo credit: Belfast Live

A further search was undertaken in April 2019 when fresh searches were undertaken at the caravan park in Ballyhalbert, the disused World War II RAF airfield was also searched (you can see how far away this is from the caravan park in the picture we have included above). The PSNI speculated at that Lisa had been strangled or suffocated which was why no blood evidence was found at the caravan. They speculated that she rejected the sexual advances of her killer, who lost his temper and killed her. 

The disused RAF airfield has a number of buildings on-site, and a lot of underground, unused chambers which were abandoned after World War II. The area is usually used for grazing sheep, and the caravan where Lisa was last seen partying on that cold February night, overlooks the search area. 

Lisa Dorrian
Photo credit: Historical Airfields

As mentioned previously the caravan had been wiped clean. The PSNI believed more than one person was involved with the disposal of Lisa’s body. A week before the last search was undertaken a 42-year-old man and 34-year-old woman were arrested, the PSNI were given an additional 12 hours to question the suspects before they were released on bail pending further inquiries. 

Lisa Dorrian would be 39 years old, she could have been a wife, a mother, had a career, owned her own home, car or business. Her family will never get to see this happen for her. There are a small number of people that know exactly what happened that night, and none of them will come forward for fear of intimidation. 

One theory is that the killer and his accomplice is being protected by the UVF due to family ties. Again, there is no concrete evidence to confirm this and until the TMTL get further information we are taking this as gossip/rumour.

Case Timeline

  • 28th February 2005 – Lisa Dorrian goes missing after a house party at Ballyhalbert caravan park. 
  • 6th March 2005 – Lisa’s parents John and Pat appeal for information relating to their daughter, Lisa’s, disappearance.
  • 7th March 2005 – The search is extended to involve land, air and sea searches along the Ards Peninsula. The PSNI also carry out a reconstruction at 5 am to try and determine where Lisa would have gone. 
  • 9th March 2005 – The caravan Lisa was last seen in was removed from Ballyhalbert caravan park for forensic testing.
  • 13th March 2005 – PSNI change the status of Lisa’s case to a murder investigation but give no indication as to why. Paramilitary involvement was suspected when graffiti appeared in Ballyhalbert claiming that the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) was involved. 
  • 28th April 2005 – A £10,000 reward was raised for information leading to Lisa’s whereabouts.
  • 17th May 2005 – An investigation by BBC spotlight puts the blame on the LVF and states that loyalist paramilitary groups (the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Red Hand Commando (RHC)) were carrying out their own investigations into the disappearance of Lisa Dorrian. 
  • 27th May 2005 – Two men were questioned over the disappearance and murder of Lisa Dorrian. Both gave different accounts of a phone call that was made after she disappeared. 
  • 12th June 2005 – Lisa Dorrian would have turned 26 years old. Her family released 26 balloons over Bangor seafront.
  • 1st July 2005 – A fundraising appeal commenced, blue ribbons were given out to support attempts to find Lisa. To date, four people had been questioned over Lisa’s disappearance and all were released.
  • 16th September 2005 – PSNI make an appeal to owners and users of boats. They suspected Lisa’s body may be in the water and asked those using the Ards Peninsula to be vigilant by checking their boats for signs of tampering or unauthorised use.
  • 23rd August 2006 – Rock band Snow Patrol pledge their support to Lisa Dorrian’s appeal. The band from Bangor, Co. Down, wore blue ribbons at a major performance in Belfast after Lisa’s sister, Joanne, contacted them via social media. 
  • 11th December 2007 – Marked 1000 days since Lisa disappeared. 
  • 16th December 2012 – The PSNI investigate farmland near Comber, Co. Down as part of the search for a vehicle that was said to be linked to Lisa’s disappearance.
  • 23rd February 2015 – A £15,000 reward was offered (£5,000 additional than the original reward) from the charity Crimestoppers, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the disappearance of Lisa Dorrian.
  • 28th June 2015 – Jimmy Seales, a convicted murderer claimed that Lisa’s body was buried in a sealed container at an illegal landfill near Ballygowan, Co. Down. This was later dismissed as false information.
  • 5th January 2016 – Patricia Dorrian (59), passed away from a heart attack that caused cardiac arrest. She was just 59 years old and passed away never knowing where her beautiful daughter was. Her funeral was held locally, and mourners were quoted as saying that Lisa’s disappearance had taken an “unbearable toll on her”.
  • 15th February 2016 – The PSNI search farmland in Comber, Co. Down. The search ended a week later after no body was recovered.
  • 28th February 2017 – On the 12th anniversary of Lisa’s disappearance, her heartbroken father and sisters launch a fresh appeal asking for the public’s help in bringing Lisa home.
  • 10th April 2018 – Lisa Dorrian’s family home is destroyed by a house fire which left her father, John, and little sister, Ciara homeless. John had no home insurance and could not afford the repair costs. Lisa’s remaining furniture, clothing and other items were in the attic and were all destroyed, leaving the Dorrian family with very little left but photographs they had of Lisa and any items they may have had held in the sisters’ homes. The Dorrian family had moved into the home in 1996, just 9 years before Lisa’s disappearance. 
  • 29th June 2018 – BBC Crimewatch sparked a fresh appeal and it sparked fresh PSNI searches. This included three new sites, which included wooded areas in Craigantlet, Co. Down and Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim using specially trained police dogs.
  • 1st April 2019 – More fresh searches were undertaken by the PSNI at the Ballyhalbert caravan park Lisa was last seen. The disused World War II RAF airfield nearby was also searched. The PSNI used ground-penetrating radar with 20 specially trained PSNI officers, computer’s, a mapping suite and a buggy were unloaded to allow officers to access the marshland at the disused RAF airfield site. Lisa’s body wasn’t recovered, but it is unknown whether or not any evidence was found.
  • 6th April 2019 –  A 42-year-old man and 34-year-old woman were arrested and taken to PSNI Musgrave Station in Belfast City Centre.
  • 6th April 2019 – PSNI were given an additional 12 hours to question the two suspects in relation to Lisa’s disappearance. 
  • 7th April 2019 – Both individual’s were released on bail, pending further police inquiries. 

Known Past Suspects

Please note all suspects have been released without charge and are no longer considered suspects. We are choosing to only identify them with their initials because there is no need to include their full names. TMTL chooses to allow people to keep their privacy, and don’t condone the naming and shaming of individual’s that have been cleared of any crimes. 

  • ML Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • ST, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
  • MS, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
  • MP, Co. Down, Northern Ireland 

Live Suspects

In April 2019 a 42-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman were arrested charged with the murder of Lisa Dorrian. They were released on bail pending further police inquiries. Police have not named the suspects and there have been no further reports.

The Family

TMTL reached out to Lisa Dorrian’s Facebook page letting them know we were covering Lisa’s case and asking for clarity on Lisa’s height, weight and eye colour. The Admin of the page read the messages but did not respond. Therefore, we are unable to provide this information until we receive information back from the PSNI. We have reached out to the PSNI about the case and will report back with any updates.

If you know anything about the disappearance of Lisa Dorrian please contact the following:

PSNI Bangor

Anyone with information should call detectives on 101 extension 60507. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Lisa Dorrian Website Contact

References

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5 thoughts on “MISSING: Lisa Dorrian, Bangor, Northern Ireland

  1. Wow I’m happy this is an indepth investigation and being shared. It’s sad that it’s been several years and nothing has been resolved. Continue the good work you’re doing!

  2. It’s a peculiar case and one that I wasn’t aware of until you pointed it out to me directly. I don’t know how I had missed this, but I had. I would say I can’t believe it’s been so long without anything being resolved, but I’m not surprised. It is Northern Ireland after all.

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