A five day search for missing Newry teenager John Paul (JP) Smyth has ended in tragedy following the recovery of his body by divers in Warrenpoint early yesterday evening.

The heartbreaking tragedy caught the publics attention so strongly that many who didn't even know the young man have taken to social media to express their condolences and devestation at the news, with some adding that it just as easily could have been their or their friends child!  Summing the emotions up one lady commented "My prayers are for his family now. God be with them and help them at this time. As a mummy my heart is sore for them."

Fifteen year old JP had not been seen since 6.15pm on New Years Eve in Warrenpoint town centre and searches had been underway by the PSNI, K9 Search and Rescue dogs, Kilkeel RNLI, Newcastle Coastguard, Belfast Coastguard, Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team and Greenore Coast Guard as well as community groups and many members of the public.

JP Smyth
JP Smyth

Searches were carried out in Warrenpoint, Rostrevor, Newry and even as far away as Belfast.

Yesterdays final search was initially based on the south side of Carlingford Lough. A post on the K9 Search and Rescue NI facebook explained "During the search, K9 Max indicated an area of interest, leading to divers being deployed. A young male was recovered by divers, K9 Search & Rescue and Kilkeel Coastguard Rescue team into care of police."

St Paul's High School

JP was a year 12 student in St Paul's High School and representatives from the school offered condolences on social media saying "The tragic and accidental death of our esteemed Year 12 pupil JP Smyth has shocked and saddened us all. The thoughts and prayers of the entire St Paul’s community go out to JP’s family and friends." The school opened briefly today for any pupils or parents who wanted to remember JP and they will provide a listening ear for any pupils who need to talk to someone tomorrow when school re-opens after the Christmas Break.

Catering Promise

Just one short year ago in January 2019 JP took first prize in a SRC Skillbuild catering competition, while studying Patisserie and Contemporary Cuisine, something he excelled in.


Newry & Armagh MP Mickey Brady also expressed his deepest sympathies to John Pauls family and friends and also commended all who helped in the search “I extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of JP Smyth.

"The tragic death of JP has deeply impacted on the wider community, and the thoughts and prayers of all are with those trying to come to terms with his death.

"By all accounts JP, a student at St Pauls High School, was a popular young man. St Pauls staff have taken steps to help support any students affected by this terrible loss."

"Finally I would also commend all who have been involved in the search to locate JP”.

South Down MP Chris Hazzard added "Really sad news from Warrenpoint as search for JP Smyth is called off after body recovered - thoughts of all of us in #SouthDown and further afield with John Paul’s family and friends tonight"

If you need help

If you’ve been affected by JP’s death and would like to talk to someone you can contact Newry and Dundalk Samaritans on 116123 from any phone or phone the Lifeline helpline on 0808 800 8000.

Children and young people can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 1111 or by visiting for free and confidential support and advice.


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