Monday 20 January 2020

Man (35) arrested after two are found stabbed to death in flat

Tragedy: PSNI officers outside the building on Kinnaird Close in Belfast after the bodies of a man and a woman were found in an apartment yesterday afternoon. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Tragedy: PSNI officers outside the building on Kinnaird Close in Belfast after the bodies of a man and a woman were found in an apartment yesterday afternoon. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

David Young and Mark McConville

A 35-year-old man has been arrested after a man and a woman were found stabbed to death in a Belfast flat.

The arrest came after the bodies were found in the flat in the Kinniard Close area yesterday afternoon. Local sources said it was understood they had been stabbed.

The alarm was raised shortly before 1pm when police received a call from a member of the public to say that the bodies of two people had been found.

Police rushed to the scene and a number of residents of the apartment complex were evacuated as the investigation got underway.

Members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) later arrested a 35-year-old man and he was taken to Musgrave police station for questioning.

Police confirmed that two people were found dead but refused to confirm any further details, insisting the investigation was at an extremely early stage.

The identities of the deceased will not be released until their next of kin have been notified.

Local SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said: "Just a few days before Christmas, this is the worst kind of news for any family. Within the local community there is anger and sadness."

Tragedy: PSNI officers outside the building on Kinnaird Close in Belfast after the bodies of a man and a woman were found in an apartment yesterday afternoon. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Tragedy: PSNI officers outside the building on Kinnaird Close in Belfast after the bodies of a man and a woman were found in an apartment yesterday afternoon. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

He said the dead man and woman were both "characters" and were well known in the area.

"A few days before Christmas this couple's poor family will get this devastating and horrific news that they have died in such conditions," he added.

Sinn Féin councillor JJ Magee said it was a "tragic scene".

"Absolutely shocked, the community is shocked by the news that has come from this very, very serious situation," he said.

"It is an absolute tragic event."

Mr Magee said there would have been many children in the area around the time of the incident due to the Christmas holidays.

Police forensic officers were examining the scene of the incident yesterday afternoon.

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery, said: "At around 12.55pm police received a report from a member of the public that the bodies of two people had been discovered in a flat in the area.

"The circumstances of the deaths will now be subject to investigation and post-mortem examinations will take place in due course."

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it received a 999 call shortly after 1pm.

"Following assessment and initial treatment at the scene, no one was transferred to hospital," the NIAS said.

Horrified locals spoke of their shock at the deaths.

One woman said it was usually a quiet area where everyone knew their neighbours and residents were mainly pensioners.

"This wee complex is very, very quiet and everyone will tell you that," she said.

"It was very quiet here this morning. You would have thought it was a Sunday. I actually thought everybody was away on holiday."

She said there were a few long-standing residents of the flat complex.

Another neighbour said: "It's not a surprise that something has happened there but it's definitely a shock there's been deaths. It's mad.

"It seems to be all older or elderly men in those flats."

Irish Independent

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