Student's family mistakenly told he was safe and well before body found

Police in London believe a body found in the city last night is that of a missing Irish student.

Eighteen-year-old Patrick Halpin from Loughrea disappeared while out with friends in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Metropolitan Police found a body in an enclosed area in the vicinity of Burger King and the Zoo Bar off Leicester Square at around 7.50pm last night.

Patrick was last seen shortly after midnight on Wednesday when he left the Zoo Bar in Bear Street, Leicester Square, in central London to get food. The alarm was raised when it was discovered on Wednesday morning that he had not returned to the hostel where the group was staying.

A search was mounted and Patrick's sister Regina launched a social media campaign to try to find him.

The teenager was visiting London on a trip with DCU Drama Society.

Police say the body found last night is that of the young Galway man, and his family has been notified.

The death is not being treated as suspicious, and a formal identification has yet to take place.

Producer with LBC radio in London Paidi Prendergast said Patrick's family was mistakenly told yesterday that he had been found safe and well.

"His sister and father Paddy flew in from Galway yesterday and they were trying to trace his whereabouts," he said.

"They were wrongfully called to Gatwick Airport after an airport official said he had checked in for his flight with the DCU group. But unfortunately this was an error - his name had appeared on the block booking."


London Editor of the Irish Times Mark Hennessy says as well as the investigation into his death police will also try and find out why the family was given wrong information that Patrick had been found at Gatwick Airport.

He said: "Obviously the circumstances in which all of this has happened has been made particularly tragic by the false hope that the family received last night.

"Again, the Metropolitan Police are going to have to answer further questions - not as to how people in Gatwick thought that Mr. Halpin had been found - but rather how that information was passed on to the family without it being doubled and triple checked."


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