Police confirm body found in woodland is student David O'Halloran

The 18-year-old disappeared after a night out with friends in Stirling in January.

David O'Halloran, missing Stirling student.

Police have confirmed a body found in woodland is that of missing student David O'Halloran.

The 18-year-old disappeared after a night-out with friends in Stirling city centre more than three months ago.

He took a lift in a taxi but got out before reaching his accommodation and was last spotted crossing Henderson Street in Bridge of Allan, near Stirling, in the early hours of January 18.

A body was discovered in a wooded area above Bridge of Allan on April 18 and a spokesman for Police Scotland confirmed on Wednesday it is that of the first-year maths student.

The family of Mr O'Halloran, who attended the University of Stirling, launched a campaign to help find him after he vanished, appealing for the public's help via social network sites Facebook and Twitter.

On the Facebook page, a post believed to be from Mr O'Halloran's mother Donna, from Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, said a celebration of his life will be held at nearby Stewarton sports centre on May 11 because "David loved his tennis so much".

David's father Alan McInnes said on Wednesday: "As a parent I have had to face the early death of my son, David.

"I chose to keep hope alive for myself, my parents and for David's aunts and uncles, brother and big and little sisters.

"These past three months have been long and challenging, stressful and filled with worry and hope in equal measure.

"My son is irreplaceable. Without him our family will be incomplete.

"Yes, I am fortunate enough to have other children. However, they, like I, will always feel the loss of David. As will many who knew and loved David.

"I took the decision along with my family that we would go and quietly visit the place where David was found.

"We had a brief opportunity to say thanks to the shepherd who found David and thanks to the farmer for his permission to be on his land.

"We had laid flowers where David had been. We had decided to use this visit to show the children all the places in Stirling where David had been.

"I was the first person to hold my son, I held him in my arms when he was born.

"As a parent I have a duty to David, a duty to ensure that his service is befitting the unique individual he was.

"He should be afforded a quiet dignified service and not to 'have it streamed live over the internet' as has been suggested."

A statement on the University of Stirling's website said: "We are deeply saddened by the confirmation from Police Scotland today that the body discovered on April 18 is indeed that of our missing student David O'Halloran.

"David was a popular and promising student who will be missed across the university community. Our thoughts are with his family and everyone affected at this time."

The university has launched a new safe taxi scheme this week, which allows students who do not have enough money to get home from nights-out during term time to use their matriculation card and signature as a deposit for the fare.

The initiative has been developed by Stirling's Students' Union, 12 local taxi companies, police and Stirling Council.

Sam Gibbs, president of the Students' Union, said: "For the union and the university, the safety and well-being of our students is paramount.

"The safe taxi scheme is a welcome initiative. It ensures students who go out for a night in town will always be able to get back home safely.

"It is important that, if students do find themselves in a difficult or exceptional situation, there are mechanisms in place to help them get home safely."

Robert Fowler, chairman of the Stirling Taxi Association, said: "We are pleased to be working with the university to deliver this service which provides a safety net for students in emergency circumstances.

"Stirling is a university city and the drivers from local taxi firms pride themselves on providing an excellent and safe service to students."

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