The 54-year-old disappeared in October 1991 and his body was found in a Ford Orion discovered in the River Bann in Bellaghy last month, police said.

By Michael McHugh, PA

The body of a man who went missing 30 years ago has been recovered from a car found in a river in Northern Ireland.

James Patterson was 54 when he disappeared on October 6 1991. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

Police officers and other emergency services extracted the vehicle from the River Bann in Bellaghy last month.

A PSNI statement said: “Police can confirm human remains were found following the recovery of a car from the River Bann at the New Ferry Road in Bellaghy last month.

“The vehicle was recovered from the river in July and, following examination, it has been confirmed the human remains are those of James Patterson, who went missing on 6th October 1991.

“The family have been informed and request for privacy at this time.”

Mr Patterson was last seen at Mid Ulster Hospital.

The Ford Orion was discovered by a local community search and rescue team carrying out planned searches in the area.

It was subjected to forensic examination.