Marian Beattie’s family are pleading for good Christian people to do the right thing and unmask her killer, almost 45 years after her partially clothed body was found in Co Tyrone.
The beautiful Portadown girl was just 18-years-old when she went with a girlfriend to go to a ‘Save the Children’ Charity Barbecue and dance at Hadden’s Garage between Aughnacloy and Ballygawley.
She was last seen walking with a man in his late teens towards a car on the Aughnacloy Road. But she was murdered and her body was found the next morning at the bottom of Hadden’s Quarry.
Despite several police probes over the past 44 years, and the PSNI reopening the case four years ago, the Beattie family are no closer to getting justice for their beloved Marian.
Her brother Gerard, who was just 13 years old when his sister was killed, said it had turned the whole family upside down.
“Our family’s pain is as raw today as it was then,” he said.
Despite several hundred people attending the dance that night on March 30, 1973, hardly any information has been forthcoming.
Gerard believes his sister’s killer is being protected and someone knows his identity.
“I have been told that initial descriptions of a man who left with Marian had long blond hair. However when two witnesses came to a police line-up there was no one with long blonde hair in the line-up,” he said.
“I believe police were protecting someone,” he claimed.
“We believe the answers to what happened could lie within the local area. Four years ago when the PSNI reviewed Marian’s case, an anonymous Aughnacloy source contacted a Tyrone newspaper.
“They stated: ‘Several hundred people were at the dance that night, and there has been a lot of conjecture over the years as to what exactly happened.
‘It is important that Marian’s family get some sort of closure on this tragic event and justice is done. The wider community also need to have this cleared up and suspicion removed from innocent parties’.”
Mr Beattie said it had been reported at the time and since that local police had been met with a ‘wall of silence’ since 1973.
“This was not a political or sectarian crime,” said Mr Beattie, adding that the family have received cross-community backing from parties across the political spectrum.
“There are many good Christian people out there. If it was your daughter, your niece, your sister, your granddaughter, you would want to know what happened,” he said.
“She was a kind, friendly young girl who was just out to enjoy herself when her life was cruelly taken away from her,” he said. “This was a cruel and brutal murder which remains unsolved,”
Criminologist Robert Giles, who has written about serial killer Robert Black, has been helping the family’s campaign to find Marian’s killer.
“This is a family who have dealt with this trauma with dignity. They deserve closure.”
Mr Beattie said: “We urge anyone with any information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to contact the Pat Finucane Centre in Armagh confidentially.
“No family should have to endure such a long time without truth,” he said.