Fresh appeal to solve 21-year-old mystery of missing Eddie Donnelly, who police believe was murdered

Fresh appeal to solve 21-year-old mystery of missing Eddie Donnelly, who police believe was murdered

POLICE have launched a fresh appeal for information in relation to former miner Edward Donnelly, who disappeared 21 years ago.

Mr Donnelly, lnown to his friends as Eddie, was last seen walking alone beside the A167 near the Red Lion pub at Plawsworth, County Durham at around 12.45pm on March 25, 2002.

Police suspect that the 53-year-old was murdered but, despite exhaustive enquiries over the years, his body has never been found.

On Friday, Durham Constabulary launched a fresh appeal for information in the hope that witnesses will come forward with the crucial information needed to solve the case.

'Allegiances change'

"It is 21 years since Edward's disappearance, but we remain convinced that someone out there knows what happened to him," said Detective Superintendent Lee Gosling.

"Over time, allegiances and circumstances change and it is possible that a witness who was unwilling to come forward or was afraid to come forward is now able to do so.

"Edward Donnelly was a quiet, unassuming man and his family deserve to know the truth about what happened to him.

"We would ask anyone with information to come forward as a matter of urgency so that Eddie's family and friends can have the closure they deserve."

Keys and documents

Mr Donnelly shared a home with his sister in Fynway, Sacriston, County Durham and she reported him missing on the day he disappeared.

At the time of his disappearance, she said she had returned home that day to find his keys and other documents posted through the letterbox.

Mr Donnelly, a former mineworker at Sacriston Pit, enjoyed reading and walking in the Durham and Chester-le-Street areas.

He was around 5' 8" in height, pale and with mousey brown hair.

Despite extensive searches at locations in the area over the years, including abandoned mine workings, pit shafts and woodland, officers have failed to locate any trace of Mr Donnelly.

What began as a missing person's inquiry soon became a murder investigation.

In 2005, five people were arrested in connection with the investigation, however all were released without charge.

Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators on 101, the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the Major Incident Public Portal by clicking here.