Saturday 24 March 2018

Investigation launched after man's body discovered in home with 'shocking' injuries

Laurence Shaw (56)
Laurence Shaw (56)

Victoria Leonard

The body of 56-year-old Laurence Shaw was discovered inside his home in Hillmount Gardens at around 1.30pm yesterday afternoon.

His brother said the family has been left traumatised after his brother was found dead with his throat cut in Larne yesterday.

Police have launched a murder investigation into the Seacourt estate death with a post mortem due to be carried out to determine the cause.

A 39-year-old man was arrested during the early hours of Tuesday morning on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody at this time.

The Belfast Telegraph understands that the victim, Laurence 'Lornie' Shaw (56) had his throat slit, and an attempted arson attack was made on his Hillmount Gardens home.

Mr Shaw's brother John (57) said that the family had been left in shock at the brutal attack.

"This has come out of the blue, we never expected something like this to happen," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"John had a heart problem, a stitch in his heart, and he hadn't been well.

"He had been a joiner but he hadn't worked for a while due to illness.

"He had taken over my mother's house after she went into a care home.

"I believe he was found by a friend, but the police haven't told me any details yet."

Laurence's death is the latest tragedy to hit the Shaw family in recent years.

In 1993, their uncle Robert Shaw, a father-of-four from the Roddens area of Larne, was murdered by the UDA as he sat in his van near the shore of Belfast Lough at Whiteabbey.

He had driven there to collect fishing bait.

Laurence and John also lost their eldest brother, Francis, to a car crash at the age of just 19 in 1978.

"Laurence was my only surviving brother," said John, who also has four sisters.

"We lost our eldest brother Francis when his car crashed on a corner in Carnlough and it was crushed, so we were the only two boys left.

"I was born the year before Laurence - there was exactly a year to the day between us.

"There have been quite a few tragedies in our family."

Paying tribute to Laurence, John said he would miss his younger brother.

"He had his own way of doing things and a good sense of humour," he continued.

"He was a big Celtic fan and he did a lot of sport and boxing when he was younger.

"In his younger days, when he was about 16 or 17, he would have trained with me when I was boxing."

Mid and East Antrim Sinn Fein Councillor James McKeown, who grew up near the Shaw family on Larne's Antiville estate, said that the brutal killing had stunned local people.

"This community is in trauma - a number of people I have spoken to say they are just traumatised and can't believe that something like that happened on their doorstep," he said. "Laurence was very popular in Seacourt - he was well-known, the type of person who wouldn't have walked past you without saying hello.

"He was a big Celtic supporter and had a good sense of humour.

"For something like this to happen just a few feet away from a children's play park is horrific.

"No matter how much you try to shield youngsters from what is happening it will get out, and it could have a knock-on effect."

Sinn Fein's Oliver McMullan, who also knew Laurence personally, said the "horrible" death had "shocked the close-knit community in Seacourt".

"The Shaw family are well-known and long-established in that estate," he said.

"Laurence was a very long-standing friend of mine.

"He kept himself to himself, he was a quiet fella who wouldn't have harmed anybody.

"I would have talked to him once a week and he always had a yarn or a story - he had a great sense of humour.

"I appeal to anyone with information to come forward and make it known to the PSNI."

East Antrim Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson also expressed his shock at the "brutal nature" of Mr Shaw's death.

"I would like to pass on my condolences to the loved ones of this man. My thoughts are with them at this time," he said.

"The community will be shocked by this, particularly given its brutal nature.

"It is shocking it could be carried out in a quiet residential area.

"Those responsible must be brought to justice before the courts as soon as possible - they are clearly dangerous individuals and could pose a danger to others.

"If anyone has any information about this killing, I urge them to contact police with it immediately."

Detective Chief Inspector Geoffrey Boyce said: “Police were called to the scene after the body of 56-year-old Laurence Shaw was discovered inside his home in Hillmount Gardens at around 1.30pm yesterday afternoon, Monday 9th October. A post mortem examination will be carried out in due course to determine the cause of death.

“A 39-year-old man was arrested during the early hours of this morning on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody at this time.”

Detective Chief Inspector Boyce continued: “I am appealing to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the Hillmount Gardens area since Saturday afternoon, or anyone who has any information that can assist us with our enquiries, to contact detectives in Larne on 101 quoting reference number 687 09/10/17.

"I am particularly keen to speak with anyone who saw or spoke with Laurence at any time over the weekend, or anyone who was in his company. Information can also be given anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Belfast Telegraph

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