A father-of-eight described as a “respected member of the community” is believed to have been brutally beaten to death in west Belfast while walking home from a night at a football social club.
Seamus Fox (58) was believed to have been making his way home from the Donegal Celtic Football Club on the Suffolk Road when he was savagely set upon.
He was found with severe face and head injuries on waste ground beside Woodbourne police station, which is just yards from his home in the Lenadoon estate, during the early hours of yesterday morning.
An ambulance was called at about 2am but Mr Fox died at the scene.
An 18-year-old man was arrested yesterday afternoon by officers from the PSNI’s Serious Crime branch and a second man, also 18, was arrested later in the day. Both remained in custody last night.
Parish Priest Fr Martin McGill, who spent much of yesterday comforting Mr Fox’s devastated widow Phyllis, their five sons and three daughters, said: “That’s my understanding of what happened but I don’t think it is clear at this stage. But yes, he was up at Donegal Celtic.
“The investigation is still very much live.
“Seamy was a very well respected member of our local community. He was a quiet, decent good man. A loving husband, father and grandfather.”
Meanwhile at the family home at Horn Drive relatives were too upset to speak to the media.
One family member told the Belfast Telegraph: “We are still not sure exactly what happened. It’s just too early to say anything.”
It is understood plans are being made to hold a vigil in Lenadoon either tonight or over the weekend.
Detective Chief Inspector Debbie McMaster said police believe Mr Fox’s killers are from the area.
She also said that CCTV footage taken outside the police station was being examined.
“This is a very brutal murder in west Belfast,” DCI McMaster said.
“We are making inquiries to identify any local people in the area who may have seen or heard something.
“Somebody who has done this has come from west Belfast and we would appeal to the community to come forward and assist us in our enquiries and help us identify the persons involved.”
She added: “We are following a lot of lines of inquiry.”
The victim was wearing a Celtic shirt, a cream jacket and black jeans, as well as a Ben Sherman watch with a blue face.
Forensic investigators spent most of the day at the scene of the killing, searching a house in the area and the nearby Colin Glen Forest Park.
Local residents said there is often anti-social behaviour in the park with groups of teenagers gathering to drink and take drugs.
Sinn Fein councillor Sue Ramsey, who also visited the Fox family last night, said: “The family are still coming to terms with the news and don’t want to speak to the media.
“They can’t believe that this has come to their door.
“The people I have been speaking to, the people in the area, held him in very high regard. Nobody has a bad word to say about him.
“He was always with his grandchildren.”
She added: “What we are doing is appealing for anyone with information to give it to the relevant authorities.”