The naked body of 31-year-old Derry man Ciaran Doherty has been found dumped outside a Christian prayer retreat.

Doherty was shot once in the head and found with his hands bound together.

A motorist passing by a Christian Retreat Centre outside Derry City about 10.30 p.m. Irish time last night noticed the body at the side of the road. The center is located near the Co. Donegal border.

Doherty, who was from the Brandywell area in the city, was due to get married in three months. He leaves behind his fiancee and a two-year-old daughter.

He was last seen as he left his home at about 8 p.m. the same evening.

Although no group have claimed responsibility for the murder, police suspect the killing may have been carried out by dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.

Police are currently investigating the murder and forensic pathologists are in the area today.

Local clergy said it was poignant that the mans body had been discovered near a place of prayer.

Fr Stephen McLaughlin from St Mary’s Church in Creggan led prayers as a white sheet was placed over the body.

“The immediate feeling you have is one of utter revulsion, it is sickening,” he said.

“We thought certainly that these sort of things were not going to be part of our future.

“It was a horrific scene, and I think anybody would find it utterly shocking that someone would be left at the side of the road like that. It is a horrific way of dealing with a human being.”

Mark Durkan, former SDLP leader said he attended the scene of where the body was discovered and he had spoken to the police about the "horrific" killing.

“On behalf of the SDLP, I totally and absolutely condemn this brutal and crude murder, which is a throwback to the very worst of our past.”

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson was also at the scene shortly after the body was found.

Anderson said, “This is shocking and disturbing for the whole community. I am certain there will be no support within the Derry community for this sort of thing and it is not something any of us want to see returning to the city."

She continued, “It is wrong. There is no place for this in our society. We all want the gun to be taken out of our community. We are absolutely disgusted with what happened last night.”

Other political leaders said the killing resembles previous ones during the troubles.

“It bears a remarkable similarity to murders by the Provisional IRA (PIRA) and others during the Troubles. In fact, the PIRA murdered two Protestant civilians in the early days of their violence and used this area to dump those bodies," said Democratic Unionist MP Gregory Campbell.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin condemned the killing. "The shocking manner in which the remains of the deceased were left on the road side is especially reprehensible. My sympathy is with the family and friends of the deceased at this terrible time," he said.

"Their grief reminds us that there can be no possible justification for this disgusting killing. Those who carry out such acts speak for no one and offer nothing but fear and hatred. I stand with the people of Derry in demanding that these criminal activities cease immediately. Violence or the threat of violence have no place in our democratic society"

On Tuesday night, a 29-year old man from Derry was shot in the legs. He was found behind a group of stores about 7 p.m. His injuries are not life threatening.

Horror find: The area where the body of 31-year-old Ciaran Doherty was found