Noah Donohoe: New CCTV time accounts for missing minutes

By Kevin Magee
BBC News NI Investigations Correspondent

  • Published
Noah and his mum FionaImage source, Donohoe family
Image caption,
Noah Donohoe with his mother Fiona

The police have changed the time of the last confirmed sighting of Noah Donohoe before he disappeared.

This is significant as it means the final part of his journey after he entered the Northwood Estate in north Belfast is no longer unaccounted for.

Initially, the police said the last sighting of Noah was at 18:11 BST on Sunday 21 June.

At the time of his disappearance PSNI Supt Muir Clark repeated that time several times.

This related to the time of the final piece of CCTV footage recovered showing Noah just before he reached the storm drain at the top of Northwood Drive.

However, according to the Donohoe family solicitor, Niall Murphy, police have now revised that time to 18:03, a difference of eight minutes.

'No-one chasing him'

Writing on KRW Law's website, Mr Murphy said: "Police have since confirmed that that 18.11 timing is wrong.

"The time stamp on the actual footage is 18:08.

"Police misunderstood at the time of its retrieval that the clock on the CCTV was three minutes slow and hence the reported actual timing of 18:11.

"Police now understand the clock on the CCTV to have been five minutes fast, hence the new last sighting timing of 18:03."

The new time of 18.03 for the last sighting means there is no gap in timings when Noah enters the Northwood estate.

As the teenager was seen outside the nearby Grove Wellbeing Centre shortly beforehand at 18:01, this suggests he cycled directly to the top of Northwood Road without spending time elsewhere.

Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
Specialist teams, community rescue services and hundreds of volunteers were involved in the search for Noah

North Belfast pastor Brian Madden, who had joined the search for Noah, said the new time was "crucial and makes a massive difference".

"The previous time was indicating there was a bit of a time lapse and that was feeding into the narrative of all the maniacs on social media.

"It tells us there was no time for anyone to interfere with his journey in anyway at all. There was no abduction."

"There was no-one chasing him, and I knew that from the start," he continued.

"This points to the truth that there was no involvement of anyone, and this is an absolute tragic accident that has taken place."

According to the pastor, the police should have informed the public of the new timing for the last sighting.

"If they had the information, they should have released it as it could have immediately squashed the narrative that has arisen," he said.

Online speculation

Asked if the timing of the last sighting of Noah Donohoe had changed from the time of 18.11 released by the police, a PSNI spokesperson said: "Police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disappearance and death of Noah Donohoe on behalf of the coroner.

"This is an ongoing coronial investigation and, as such, any enquiries should be directed to the Coroner's Office."

During a second pre-inquest review hearing, a barrister for the coroner confirmed the last sighting was at three minutes past six.

Barrister Declan Quinn said: "At 18:03, Noah is seen a short distance away outside 85 Northwood Road without any clothes.

"He is seen on this CCTV to go between numbers 89 and 91 Northwood Road which leads to an area of waste ground behind the houses."

The coroner Joe McCrisken has said there is no evidence that Noah was attacked, or that any other person was involved in his death and has expressed concern about continued online speculation about the incident, despite an earlier appeal for it to stop.