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Woman witnesses fatal attack on partner outside home

THE partner of a man killed outside his home witnessed the attack -- but did not realise it was him.

Detectives are probing whether Irishman Willie McKeeney was the victim of an ongoing hate campaign by a gang of Asian youths in the run-up to his death.

The 57-year-old died in hospital in Glasgow on Sunday after being beaten to death as he walked home from a chip shop.

His Scottish partner, Annmarie, found him lying close to their home in the Pollokshields area of the city.

She had seen the attack from the window of their ground-floor flat -- but had not known Mr McKeeney was the victim.

It was only when she went outside that she realised it was her partner.

Police said she was "completely traumatised", adding: "The fact she found him makes it even more horrendous."

Mr McKeeney, a lorry driver, was from Malin Head in Co Donegal and had moved to Scotland about five years ago. He had been thinking about moving back to Ireland recently, friends said.

Neighbours told detectives that the dead man had been "picked on" by a group of young Asian men in the area.

"He had some trouble with an Asian gang in the area and had all the tyres on his car slashed," said one shocked neighbour yesterday.

Glasgow city councillor David Meikle said: "It is important that all aspects are looked into, including the possibility that it may have been a racially motivated crime."

The dead man's partner witnessed part of the attack and called an ambulance. She accompanied him to the city's Victoria Infirmary where he died shortly afterwards.

Detective Chief Inspector David Gailey told a press conference: "Mr McKeeney had been out socialising . . . and was making his way home when the attack took place.

"At the moment it would appear that it was a completely unprovoked attack.

"There is the possibility that someone heard or saw something that will help us catch those responsible for this vicious murder."

The two men police want to talk to are of Asian appearance.

In Malin Head yesterday, friends said the victim was "a decent, quiet man" who would "run a mile from a fight".

Shocked locals in the remote Inishowen peninsula said Mr McKeeney's four brothers and two sisters are devastated.

One of them -- Henry -- was told the tragic news in the US yesterday and is making arrangements to fly home from Boston.

"Willie was a great fella who wouldn't harm a fly and wouldn't know how to harm a fly," said local man Seamus Doherty.

Irish Independent