DETECTIVES have re-opened an investigation into the brutal and savage murder of Lorraine McCausland in north Belfast almost three decades ago.
Lorraine’s body Lorraine was found beside a stream in Forthriver on 8 March 1987.
The 23-year-old had been for a night out and was last seen in a loyalist club at Tyndale.
Police believe the mother of two she was raped in the club before she was “savagely beaten” and her body dumped by loyalists.
The officer leading the fresh investigation, Detective Inspecto Michelle Griffin said: “The investigation is being re-opened because, having reviewed the case, police believe there are potential new lines of enquiry.
“This was a merciless beating of a vulnerable young woman. It has had a profound effect on her family.
“It would also have had a lasting impact on the people who witnessed these events 29 years ago.
“The people involved in this attack are still at large.”
Police said they would be distributing leaflets in the area to highlight the reinvestigation and appealed for people to come forward with information.
“I am appealing to anyone who was in the club on the night of Saturday 7 and the early hours of Sunday 8 March 1987.
“It’s a long time ago but I’m sure everyone who was there still carries those memories. They will probably never leave them.”
Det Insp Griffin said Lorraine was a “popular member” of the local community.
“She had worked as a stitcher and then in her sister’s mobile shop,” she said.
“Everybody in the area knew Lorraine and liked her for her personality and kindness.”
The officer said some people had been “reluctant to assist” the police investigation.
“The shadow of loyalist paramilitarism hangs over this case. I believe people have been reluctant to tell the truth about that night, what they saw and heard, what they know, because they are frightened.
“I understand their fear but I believe there are ways of dealing with this and providing a mechanism to enable people to come forward and tell us what they know about the events of that night so that we can get justice for Lorraine and her family.”
Police said 14 people were arrested during the original investigation but no-one was charged.
Detectives conducted 29 searches and took more than 100 witness statements.
Lorraine McCausland’s son, who was aged just two, when she was killed, was murdered 18 years later in July 2005.
Craig McCausland died after in north Belfast by the UVF.
Police claims that the killing was blamed on tensions within loyalism by police has been rejected the family.