Van driver sought in search for missing teacher

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A missing person appeal for a teacher from east Belfast is continuing today after the disappearance of Catherine Johnston last Tuesday.

A teacher at Hazlewood College, the married mother-of-one had been on sick leave in the days before going missing.

Police have continued to appeal to the public for any information and have concentrated the search around Dunseverick Castle and Carrick-a-rede areas.

Catherine is described as being approximately 5ft 9ins tall and of average build, with light brown, shoulder-length hair.

PSNI Sergeant David Armour said: “We have information that a Vauxhall estate car, possibly an Insignia or an Astra, was parked at Ballintoy on Tuesday afternoon. The car is described as being duck-egg blue in colour.

“A man, woman and three children were using the car and it is thought that the adults took photographs while they were there. I would ask these people to please contact police so that we can check the photographs and see if they can assist us with the investigation.

“It is also thought that a white Transit van with a yellow taxi sign on the roof was parked in Ballintoy later that afternoon. Again I would ask the driver to please get in touch with police, quoting reference number 889 of 13/12/16.”

The principal of Hazelwood College had urged people not to give up hope earlier this week.

Kathleen O’Hare said Mrs Johnston, who disappeared from her home in east Belfast on Tuesday, was like “a mother” to the children at the school.

Mrs O’Hare said: “Catherine is extremely pastoral. She is like a mother to the children.

“She made sure every single child achieved their potential. She never gave up on anyone, we hope that no one gives up on her.

“She would be the first person to the fore if this had happened to one of her colleagues.”

The school principal added: “There is an air hanging over the school. There is hope but there is also fear.”