Kelly welcomes public consultation on Charlotte’s law  

Lack of strategy to address violence against women and girls 'unacceptable': Kelly

Dolores Kelly MLA.

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SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly has welcomed a public consultation into a law-change that would consider killers’ decision not to reveal the location of their victims’ bodies.  

‘Charlotte’s law’ follows a campaign by the family of Co Tyrone woman Charlotte Murray who went missing in 2012. The law has also received support from the family of Co Down woman Lisa Dorrian who disappeared in 2005. Neither woman’s body has ever been found.  

Upper Bann MLA Mrs Kelly said:  

“My heart goes out to the families of everyone affected by these cases. I commend the family of Charlotte Murray for launching this campaign after losing their loved one in such tragic circumstances and the family of Lisa Dorrian who continue their campaign with dignity all these years after Lisa’s disappearance. I am also thinking of the families of the disappeared – although not affected by this legislation, they have suffered similar ordeals and spend every day in perpetual torture.  

“We must do everything in our power to encourage those who carry out such heinous acts to reveal the location of their victims’ bodies so that they can be given a proper burial and their family can take some comfort from knowing their final resting place. We must also weigh a failure to reveal the location of their vicitms’ against anyone seeking parole or a lesser sentence. Every facet must be explored and taking into consideration to ensure families do not have to go through this awful experience.  

“I would encourage as many individuals and groups as possible to respond to this consultation to back the Murray and Dorrian families’ campaign and to send a clear message that the law here needs to change. No family should be subjected to this daily anguish, losing a loved one in these circumstances is one of the most painful experiences imaginable and to have this further compounded by never knowing their final resting place is unconscionable.”  

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The body of Stephen Barriskill was found at a residential property in the Whitesides Hill area of Portadown just after 12:00 BST on Wednesday, October 27 Picture: Pacemaker Belfast.