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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Rory police launch murder inquiry
Rory Blackhall
Rory Blackhall was reported missing on Thursday
A murder hunt has been launched into the death of 11-year-old Rory Blackhall, whose body was found in woods in West Lothian.

Rory, of Adambrae, Livingston, went missing after being dropped off for school on Thursday. A post-mortem established that he had been murdered.

His body was found on Sunday half a mile from the school but details of how he died have not yet been released.

An incident room has been set up at Livingston police station.

The post-mortem examination was held on Monday night after police had confirmed the body was that of Rory.

Senior police officers will hold a news conference at about 1130 BST on Tuesday.

In a brief statement issued at 0205 BST on Tuesday, Lothian and Borders Police confirmed that they had launched a murder inquiry.

We have placed officers at primary schools across the town recognising people would be concerned and the feedback we have had from parents has been very supportive
Chief Inspector Jim Thomson

Rory had not been seen since his mother Michelle dropped him off near Meldrum Primary, in the Deans area of Livingston, at about 0830 BST last Thursday.

The alarm was raised some seven hours later when his grandfather went to collect him and it was found he had not been in classes all day.

A search was launched and escalated over the weekend as fears for his safety grew.

However, his body was discovered just before 1300 BST on Sunday in woods at the western end of Dechmont Law, between the M8 and Meldrum Primary.

Police at schools

His death raised concerns among parents of children attending schools in the area.

The community officer for Meldrum Primary School has cancelled his annual leave and will be spending this week with staff and pupils.

Officers have also been stationed at all the other primary schools across the town for public reassurance.

Police searching the woods
A police officer examines the undergrowth at the murder scene

Chief Inspector Jim Thomson, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: "We had a fantastic response from the public who wanted to help search for Rory.

"Over the weekend we had nearly 300 members of the public helping us with the search in addition to the 70 trained mountain search and rescue teams and specialist police officers.

"This shows the strength of community spirit in the area and how much everyone has been affected by recent events.

"We have placed officers at primary schools across the town recognising people would be concerned and the feedback we have had from parents has been very supportive."

Orange roses

At a media conference on Friday, Rory's mother Michelle Blackhall, 41, said there were problems at home because of the break-up of his parents' marriage and he was also unhappy about returning to school. There are reports that he was being bullied.

Shocked residents have laid flowers in tribute to Rory, who was described as a "fantastic" son by his mother.

Dozens of bouquets have been laid near the spot where his body was found, many with messages for Rory and his family.

Among them were some orange roses with a card attached bearing the single word "Why?".

One said Rory's smile had "touched the hearts of those of us who don't know you".

  • Anyone with any information should contact police on 01506 445650

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    19 Aug 05 |  Scotland

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