An Irish student who went missing in London for two days after visiting the capital for the first time has been found dead on the roof of a West End nightclub.
Police said 18-year-old Patrick Halpin's body was found on top of a four-storey building in Bear Street, off Leicester Square, on Thursday night.
In a cruel twist, news of his death came just two hours after officials told his family he had been found when Gatwick Airport reported he had checked in for a flight home with friends from Dublin City University's drama society.
But as his elated father Paddy and sister Regina, 22, who had flown to London on Wednesday, made their way to the airport the report turned out to be a false alarm.
The seats had been booked as a block and his absence from the group had not been noticed by check-in staff.
At the time, his cousin Sorcha Halpin tweeted: "Our hearts have just sunk to a new low. We just found out Patrick is still missing. It was a false alarm."
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said : "On Thursday, 6 February police received information that Patrick Halpin had checked on to a flight due to depart from Gatwick Airport.
"Subsequent investigation revealed that this was part of a group booking and that he had not personally checked in.
"His family were kept abreast of developments but at no stage were they informed that he had been physically found. We will continue to provide assistance to the family at this very difficult time."
Patrick was in London with the university drama society on a four-day visit to watch shows in the West End.
He was last seen leaving the Zoo Bar in Bear Street at 12.20am on Wednesday to go for food at the nearby Burger King.
Fears for his welfare intensified when he did not pick up tickets for The Book of Mormon musical later that day.
Regina said: "He was particularly excited about that and had been looking forward to it for ages. So when he did not come back to collect his tickets people realised something was wrong. That was when alarm bells went off."
CCTV footage shows him climbing external stairs leading up to the roof of the nightclub and neighbouring buildings.
Police who had traced his mobile phone found his body in an 'enclosed area'.
The Zoo club was closed as forensic detectives continued to examine the scene through the night.
A nearby worker told the Standard: "Police told us there was CCTV of him going up a staircase and we were told that's how he had got up to the roof."
A friend who had earlier been helping with the search said at the scene: "It's terrible, very sad. I was here from Ireland helping and came down especially because we were going to do a search tonight. I just can't believe it."
Tributes flooded in for the teenager, with friends describing Patrick as 'one in a million'.
Dublin student Jessica Dowdall wrote on Twitter: "Awful news. Heartbreaking. My heart goes out to Patrick Halpin's family and friends. Thinking of all those who were with him on the trip too. Sending love to you all."
Orla O'Brien tweeted: "Devastated to hear the news about Patrick. Was on the trip last year and can only imagine what all his friends and family are feeling."
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