Search crews hoping to find the body of Seamus Ruddy – the Irish Republican murdered by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) – have found human remains in a forest in northern France.

Ruddy, from Newry, County Down, was a gunrunner for the INLA but broke his ties with the group and moved to Paris to become an English teacher.

In 1985, the group tracked him down, believing he remained in control of a weapons cache, and murdered him, before secretly burying him in the French countryside.

His family and friends have waged a decades-long campaign to try and find his body, but planned excavations usually came up short.

On Friday (5 May) however, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) leading the effort said body parts have been discovered in Pont-de-l'Arche near Rouen.

Now family members face the agonising wait of hearing back from a postmortem exam which will be carried out once the remains are fully excavated.

The ICLVR was established during the peace process by the UK and Irish governments to help recover the bodies of those murdered and secretly buried, known as "the Disappeared".

It has carried out three previous searches for Ruddy in the same forest, most recently in 2008, but was never successful.

If the post-mortem confirms that the remains belong to Ruddy, it means 13 of the 16 missing people have been found. Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac's remains are yet to be found.

Anne Morgan, Ruddy's sister, travelled to France as crews began their search and has reportedly been made aware of the discovery.