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Arrest over 2001 murder of David Clarke as probe re-opens

Published 30/11/2015

Savage killing: David Clarke
Savage killing: David Clarke

A 34-year-old man has been arrested by detectives less than 24 hours after announcing a fresh murder investigation in to the death of 26-year-old David Clarke in north Belfast in 2001.

David Clarke described by police as "inoffensive and vulnerable", was savagely beaten at his flat in north Belfast in June 2001.

His body was found hours later by concerned friends who forced their way in to the property at Forthriver Road.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Dickson, leading the renewed inquiry, said he had been an easy target who suffered a vicious death.

The police officer said: "I have been a police officer for 28 years and a murder detective for 13 of those years. Apart from the wounds sustained by gunshot victims, David's injuries are the worst I have seen. This was a frenzied and savage attack."

The murder was carried out between midnight and 4am on June 6 when the killer or killers forced their way in to Mr Clarke's home.

On Monday November 30 police said they had arrested a man in the north Belfast area.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Dickson said: “I would continue to ask anyone with information to do the right thing and come forward with anything they know.

“Anyone with information is asked to call the police non-emergency number 101 or use the independent charity Crimestoppers where information can be provided anonymously.”

In the weeks leading up to his murder, David had been bullied. He did not report the incidents to police but had confided in friends.

"Everyone in the local community knew David," said Mr Dickson.

"He knocked about more often with teenagers than people his own age because he felt more comfortable with them because of his learning difficulties.

"He was inoffensive and vulnerable. I believe David was bullied because he was different, nothing else. I believe the bullying went too far and the assault turned into a frenzy."

Mr Dickson said locals may hold the key to solving the brutal crime.

"I am appealing to people in that community to provide us with the information we need to bring the perpetrators to court. Even though there were a number of arrests in the original investigation, there is a sense that this is a forgotten murder.

"It has certainly not been forgotten by police or, probably, by those involved."

The killing has not been linked to paramilitaries. Anyone with information is asked to call the police non-emergency number 101 or use the independent charity Crimestoppers where information can be provided anonymously

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