New search finds no trace of murdered Sunderland soldier Robert Nairac who was killed by IRA

A new search for the remains of a murdered Sunderland soldier has found no trace of his grave.

Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 5:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 6:32 pm

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Murdered Sunderland soldier Captain Robert Nairac.
Murdered Sunderland soldier Captain Robert Nairac.

The body of Captain Robert Nairac, from Thornhill Gardens, Ashbrooke, Sunderland, has never been recovered following his execution by the IRA during Northern Ireland’s bloody Troubles in 1977.

After a search dog handler reported “positive hits” from woodland across the border in the Republic of Ireland, the independent organisation aiming to find his remains carried out an examination of the area on Tuesday.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) employed an archaeologist who has worked on previous searches for the Troubles’ so-called Disappeared.

ICLVR lead investigator Geoff Knupfer said: ”We were looking at quite a defined area at which the cadaver dogs had apparently given strong indications.

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“We carried out a careful and painstaking archaeological examination.

“If the subsurface had been disturbed by a spade or any other device or implement cutting into it to bury remains we would have seen clear evidence of that.

“There was none. The subsurface was pristine. It was never a grave site.”

Captain Nairac, 28, was abducted from the car-park of the pro-Catholic Three Steps Pub, in Dromintee, County Armagh, on May 14, 1977, while working undercover for British intelligence.

He is widely believed to have been taken over the border into County Louth and shot before his body was buried in an unmarked grave in dense Ravensdale Forest.

Six people have been convicted in connection with his murder although none of them have revealed what happened to the Grenadier Guardsman’s remains.

Mr Knupfer added: “We work from credible information and draw on years of experience with some of the best forensic archaeologists in Ireland and the UK to narrow down a site and all we can ever say with confidence is that if the remains are there we will find them.”