Heartbroken dad’s new appeal for son missing since 2006

Raymond Kelly near the spot by the River Lagan where his son Martin was last seen on New Year's Day 2006
Raymond Kelly near the spot by the River Lagan where his son Martin was last seen on New Year's Day 2006

A heartbroken father has renewed his appeal for information about the son who went missing almost 10 years ago at Clarendon Dock in Belfast.

Martin Kelly from Holywood was 21 when he disappeared. He was last seen leaving Pat’s Bar in the docks area of Belfast on New Year’s Day in 2006 at around 7.10pm.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland undated handout photo of Martin Kelly, a missing 21-year-old plumber and barman from Belfast. His mother made an emotional appeal, Friday January 6, 2006, for anyone with information to come forward. See PA story ULSTER Missing. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Police Service of Northern Ireland/PA.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland undated handout photo of Martin Kelly, a missing 21-year-old plumber and barman from Belfast. His mother made an emotional appeal, Friday January 6, 2006, for anyone with information to come forward. See PA story ULSTER Missing. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Police Service of Northern Ireland/PA.

His father, Raymond, contacted the News Letter on Monday to urge police to issue a fresh appeal for information.

“It is the start of the 10th year since he went missing,” he said. “It is quite a distance, I never saw where that time went. You are always thinking about it, asking yourself did you miss something?”

In particular, he feels that certain revellers in the bar never came forward to police to tell what they saw. He is making a desperate appeal for them to come forward.

“Myself and other family members are pretty devastated. There is no closure date. Martin was so full of bounce and life. He was a part-time bar man in Holywood and also a trainee plumber. He had everything to live for.”

Raymond Kelly near the last sighting of his son  Martin Kelly from  Holywood on New Year's Day 2006.  ''Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Raymond Kelly near the last sighting of his son Martin Kelly from Holywood on New Year's Day 2006. ''Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

In June 2007 a civilian rescue dog and three police dogs all got a scent of human remains in the water near where Martin was last seen. Raymond worked out that the remains would have been covered at that time by around five inches of silt. But the police search could not go that deep down, he said.

“After the search the coordinator said they normally come up with human or animal remains. But this time they came away with nothing. There was confusion.”

At this time, in 2015, he says, police say they have lost all records of the search.

CCTV footage showed Martin walking away from the pub the day he disappeared, but nobody was seen to be with him or following him.

Raymond believes his son, who had been drinking heavily, may have mistakenly walked into the water.

In response to his comments, the PSNI issued a fresh appeal to the media.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Gillis said: “We would reiterate our appeal for anyone that may have information in relation to Martin Kelly to contact detectives at Musgrave Police Station on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Missing People on 116 000.”

Police said further water searches were also conducted in 2010. A full review of the case was carried out in 2007, which found that all leads had been exhausted, police said.