Derek McInulty, from Burnbank in the South Lanarkshire town of Hamilton, has been missing since the morning of 3 January and his disappearance has been described by police officers as “completely out of character”.
Mr McInulty, a night porter at the Eglinton Arms Hotel in Eaglesham, East Renfrewshire, was last seen leaving a branch of RS McColl’s in Glasgow Road in the town, where he had stopped off to buy newspapers after finishing work at 7am.
He was picked up on CCTV at the newsagent’s, the last sighting of him, wearing a green or khaki jacket and black suit trousers. At the time, the west of Scotland was being battered by extremely stormy weather, although it remains unclear whether that was a factor.
Strathclyde Police said officers found a silver car – thought to be Mr McInulty’s Suzuki Swift – submerged in an area of the White Cart Water near Holehouse Road, a country road that joins the street where Mr McInulty was last seen, at 5:45pm on Thursday.
And shortly after 1pm yesterday, police divers recovered a body from the water, believed to be that of Mr McInulty, 48.
A post-mortem examination will be carried out to find the cause of death and to confirm his identity.
The find came only a day after Mr McInulty’s wife, Gillian, made an emotional appeal for information on his whereabouts.
Sitting with her 17-year-old son Phillip, Mr McInulty’s stepson, she wept as she said: “Derek, the family and I are all worried about you and are missing you, and want to know that you’re safe and well.”
The 46-year-old added: “Derek, or anyone that knows where Derek is, please let us know or phone the police so that we know that you are OK.”
According to police, Mr McInulty had some worries over money, but there was nothing to suggest he had been the victim of criminality.
It is understood he had little money on him when he was last seen, as well as no bank cards or passport, while his car had little fuel in its tank, ruling out the idea that he could have travelled far. He was a keen walker, and police had deployed a helicopter to scour the regular routes he followed in the Clyde valley area.
As he had previously lived in York, North Yorkshire Police had also been informed of his disappearance.
Speaking at the same press conference, Chief Inspector David Walker said: “This has had a huge, devastating impact on Mr McInulty’s family. It’s a testament to his wife Gillian’s courage that she’s managed to deliver her statement. She’s desperate to hear from Derek. They are a devoted couple.”
He added: “Derek is very much a creature of habit and it is very out of character for him to deviate from his day-to-day activities.
“This is a normal family, there were some money worries, but nothing that you would say is out of the ordinary for somebody in the current financial climate.”
A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said: “At approximately 1:10pm, underwater officers recovered the body of a man from water on Holehouse Road, Eaglesham.
“A post-mortem will be carried out to establish the cause of death, and forensic tests will be carried out to establish his identity.”